Liverpool City Council’s cabinet is to recommend the creation of regeneration framework for the city’s 40-acre business district as it faces running out of vacant prime office space by the end of the year.
The cabinet is expected to sign off the preparation of a Strategic Regeneration Framework for the area to the North of the city, which 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.
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 also added the rise in residential use of former office buildings, converted through permitted development rights, had impacted on office supply.
As a result, the council’s cabinet will recommend £100,000 of funding towards preparing a masterplan for the business district, with a final strategic regeneration framework expected to be in place by January 2019.
The brief, brought forward by the council in partnership with the Liverpool City Region and Professional Liverpool, will be put out to the market early next month and a team is expected to be in place by July. Plans for the 40-acre site include linking it with Princes Dock, part of the £5.5bn Liverpool Waters project.
The city has made strides to address its shortage of office space, particularly in partnership with Kier Property where it is working up plans for around 400,000 sq ft of office space at Pall Mall. A planning application for this scheme is expected later in the year.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool’s business district is a major engine in the city’s economy and its future growth needs to be proactively managed to maximise its potential and further underpin the development of Liverpool Waters.
“The supply of Grade A office space is critical to any successful city centre which is why we are supporting the Pall Mall development but to stimulate demand and provide more supply, which will in turn create much needed jobs in the professional sector, we need a long term vision which this Spatial Regeneration Framework will underpin.
“The fact is the city centre has boomed in the past decade in its appeal for shoppers, tourists and those wanting to live in a great city centre and the competing needs of a growing population and visitor economy now needs to be addressed to ensure the district remains a dynamic and vital cog in our commercial economy for the next 20 years.”