Sciontech Spine Development
The 14-storey Spine opened in May. Credit: via Liverpool City Council

Liverpool office market on the up but supply concerns endure  

Dan Whelan

A total of 63,000 sq ft of workspace was let in the city centre during Q3, the highest quarterly figure since before the pandemic, according to Avison Young’s latest Big Nine report. 

The largest transaction in Liverpool in the three months from July to September saw Clatterbridge Cancer take 11,550 sq ft at the Spine in the Knowledge Quarter, joining the Royal College of Physicians within the building. 

This deal saw Liverpool city centre’s office take-up exceed the total for the whole of 2020. So far in 2021, 180,000 sq ft has transacted, compared with 173,000 sq ft last year.  

After an improvement compared to the 50,297 sq ft recorded in Q2, the final three months of the year could be even better. 

There are a number of active requirements in Liverpool, according to Avison Young’s report. 

These include DWP, which is hunting for around 50,000 sq ft, and Firesprite searching for around 25,000 sq ft. 

Liverpool John Moores University is also on the lookout for between 25,000-30,000 sq ft, Avison Young reported.

However, Liverpool is still struggling from a chronic lack of supply in the city centre. The Spine, with around 70,000 sq ft available, provides the only Grade A space in the city. 

Developments across the Mersey, including Hythe at Wirral Waters and the first phase of offices coming forward as part of Birkenhead’s £1bn regeneration, provide alternatives for companies willing to be located out of the city centre. 

At Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters, no work has begun on the construction of a proposed 3m sq ft of offices and the redevelopment of the former Pall Mall site has still not begun after BT pulled out of a deal to take around 80,000 sq ft last year. 

Meanwhile, the St Martins Bank building, bought by Kinrise for £16m in August, could provide 210,000 sq ft of workspace once complete but plans for that project are at an early stage. 

Another refurbishment project that could bear fruit for Liverpool’s supply of office space is that of 24 Norton Street. The building was previously occupied by LJMU but has been acquired by Norton Street Development, which plans to revamp the 30,000 sq ft building, according to Avison Young. 

Across the Big Nine, the nine largest UK cities outside London, 2.3m sq ft was transacted in Q3, 11% above the 10-year quarterly average. 

The largest deal in the three-month period was 217,000 sq ft to Just Eat at Rainton Bridge near Newcastle. 

Liverpool’s office market was discussed at Place North West‘s Merseyside Development Update.

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What a mess. Exactly the wrong developers have been cosied up to over the past ten years, amid a perfect form of hostile central government, appalling planning policies, and serious local issues.

Numerous financial companies moved out due to not having modern space to move into, and even RedX pharma had to move out when they are on record as wanting to move the rest of the business in to the city.

What is the issue with Pall Mall? Can LCC for once be straight with people?

By Jeff

What is going on with Peel L&P? They are so slow in their development progress. We’re still waiting to hear when Patagonia Place will start building. We need that office space. It’s so frustrating! Are they waiting for when the Bramley Moore Dock Everton Stadium is building before they continue any other developments. Let’s get building. The city needs this.

By David

Lots of smaller councils north west delivering new office space , Warrington, Blackburn , Rochdale and Wirral to name a few ….what’s wrong with Liverpool council ?

By George

How many years has this been getting highlighted, is anyone listening? There are too many councillors interested in listening to minor local moans instead of having the vision to create jobs in the city by attracting well paid jobs by providing high quality office accommodation.
Where is Pall Mall, can we have an update? but more than that is needed, we have a superb waterfront that should be attracting big office developments but activity is extremely slow.

By Anonymous

The way society is going all of the big companies and especially the tech companies who need offices will have located elsewhere (Manchester probably) and the rest will be allowing flexibility to work from home. Liverpool, ironically for a port has missed the boat.

By Anonymous

There’s plenty of sites around Liverpool city Centre that should already have been developed into grade A office space, Pall Mall, Moorfields, Princes Dock, Leeds Street. What’s the hold up? get it built and create meaningful jobs. Liverpool Waters should be Canary Wharf already

By BuildItNow

I think the fact they haven’t been developed for grade A office space tells you all you need to know about the investment cases for these sites. I’m not sure that the ‘build it and they will come’ adopted elsewhere will work for Liverpool , I don’t know why but reality over decades says they don’t,and those investment cases will now be tighter than ever.

By Anonymous