Liverpool City Council has chosen Arup, architect Shedkm, heritage consultant Rob Burns, and property consultant Worthington Owen to masterplan the extension of the city’s 40-acre business district.
The four companies have been appointed to draw up a spatial regeneration framework to attract new commercial investment and maximise the potential of the existing business district, which sits to the north of the city.
The area will include Pall Mall, where Kier Property and CTP are delivering a 400,000 sq ft office-led commercial development, and is also intended to link to Peel Land & Property’s £5bn Liverpool Waters scheme, which also has the potential to house new-build offices.
Liverpool’s business district has experienced increasing demand for offices but falling supply; the latest figures suggest there is only 958,000 sq ft vacant within the area, and only 330,000 sq ft is ready to occupy. Last year, the city reported its highest uptake since 2009, but again, supply has been deemed too low, with the only major upcoming developments being at Pall Mall and Liverpool Waters.
Nearly 97% of total take-up is grade B space, while there is also no vacant grade A office space remaining in the commercial district. Based on current projections there will be no grade A office space available in the city centre by the end of the year
The council agreed to put £100,000 towards preparing the masterplan at a cabinet meeting in May this year, and the intention is to have the first draft of the masterplan prepared by next month.
Following consultation early next year, public feedback will be weaved into the masterplan, before the final strategic regeneration framework document goes to the city council for full approval in the summer.
Garry Banks, director of Arup, said: “The team we have brought together to deliver this strategically important piece of work have a long and successful track record of working in the city.
“This project must enable the proactive development of the commercial district in a strategic and cohesive way and must connect the district, not just to emerging areas but to existing neighbourhoods to help the continued enhancement of Liverpool city centre.
“Working with all partners and stakeholders we will deliver an SRF that will support the creation of a vibrant and successful commercial district that can help attract the high value, high skill jobs that will support the city and wider City Region growth objectives.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson added: “This is a vital piece of work because we all need to ensure the district remains a vital cog in our commercial economy for the next 20 years and I look forward to Arup and the team providing an approach that addresses these challenges in a way that will underpin the future of one our major employment zones.”