New Chinatown North Point Street
North Point Global was behind the plans for New Chinatown. Credit: via planning documents

Liverpool to explore options for New Chinatown site 

Dan Whelan

The city council has agreed to provide a report outlining the options available for retaking control of the long-stalled Great George Street site, including exercising compulsory purchase powers.

Liverpool City Council’s decision to take action follows a motion lodged by the city’s Lib Dem leader Cllr Richard Kemp urging the council’s director of regeneration to intervene. Kemp said the site “blights the appearance of the city to tourists and potential investors alike”.

New Chinatown was the subject of £200m redevelopment proposals from North Point Global in 2015 that never materialised. 

North Point’s plan for the site, located east of the Baltic Triangle, featured 800 homes, a 140-bedroom hotel and 120,000 sq ft of offices. The developer was delivering the project through its China Town Development Company SPV, later renamed The Great George Street Project.

North Point’s involvement in the project ended in 2018 when Great George Street Developments took control of the site. Receivers have since been appointed to The Great George Street Project.

GGSD then lodged fresh plans for the site that were approved in 2019.

This scheme proposed the creation of 446 apartments across seven buildings of between two and 18 storeys. Like North Point’s project, the refreshed proposals featured a 140-bedroom hotel and more than 100,000 sq ft of offices. 

However, the 8.4-acre site, once subject of a 740-home proposal by Urban Splash, remains undeveloped.

Further north, Liverpool City Council will also seek to find a way forward for another stalled development site.  

In 2016, JGLT Developments won permission to redevelop the site of Eldon Grove, a grade two-listed building off Limekiln Lane. 

Eldon Grove would have been restored and converted into 45 apartments, and another 85 new-build flats were proposed. JGLT was dissolved in September 2020. 

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I can foresee the outcome of the Chinatown project, especially if certain councillors get involved, and what was once to be a prestigious, gateway project that was being given backing by the government. What we will end up with is multiple rounds of community consultation, suggestions of appropriate housing for local families, and anything resembling a high or even mid-rise building being reduced to a 5 storey stump to satisfy the height police, and not block views of the cathedral from Waterloo dock.
This should have been a catalyst to the regeneration of the Nelson Street area, bringing back some younger local and incoming Chinese back,or,into the city but that vision seems as far away as ever.

By Anonymous

Come on get a move on please

By Anonymous

Whoever develops it now (if it is ever to be developed) must pass due diligence and appropriate, rigorous probity checks. Liverpool City Council for all of its faults has an amazing chance to re-build confidence worldwide by making sure the job is done properly and kept away from the “usual suspects” We all know who they are.
There’s no need for another party hotel, co living, apart hotel or student scheme here just quality housing for this in need of it.

By Stuart

A litmus test for the council. They have set out their stall as the arbiters of taste and quality so let’s have it then. Oh, and they tell us that they only want institutional investors so let’s see who they bring to the table in that regard, too.

Major gateway site next to a key heritage asset (Chinatown) with scope for scale and ambition. No pressure, lads.

By Scourge of Rome

This site, and other stalled sites in the Chinatown and Baltic area optimise the chronic record of poor regen delivery in the city centre in recent years. You would scarcely think Liverpool is a UK core city when visiting that area. Furthermore, focus should also extend to the public realm and general appearance of the Nelson Street / Berry Street / Renshaw Street corridor to Lime Street. It is very run down, I have seen people trip on the myriad of cracked paving slabs, buildings are in disrepair and unsightly, the roads need repairs in places. The whole area has become an eyesore and contrasts enormously with the Hannover Street / Liverpool One area. Furthermore, and saddest of all, the lack of development in Chinatown and within the city centre means there have been less development receipts and new home council tax receipts than might have been expected by now, funds from which could have been used for public realm repairs, traffic signal/road crossing improvements etc. So sad then that LCC is prepared to spend precious little resource on CPO of the New Chinatown site when the money would be better spent on improving the appearance of the Chinatown area as much as LCC can.

By Anonymous

Nelson Street is an absolute eyesore. So sad to see what could be a vibrant area of the city in such a state.

By Tony Mc

The site is critically important to the wider city centre regeneration – as the linking piece between the University district, Ropewalks, Cathedrals and the Baltic Triangle. Nelson Street is in a sorry state at the moment – as the Asian restaurants have relocated further up Berry Street.

However, with its historic roots as Europe’s oldest Chinese community – there is a rich narrative to explore and the area should and could become a tourist haven, amplifying the city’s visitor offer. The area has so much potential to be a vibrant hub, offering an authentic Chinatown experience – with engaging public spaces, street food, colourful architectural facades and pavilions, dynamic lighting, water features, sculptures and art. There is a massive student Chinese population on the doorstep which could surely be engaged in a productive way and ultimately take a degree of ownership over the area.

By Anonymous

I really liked the Brock Carmichael Scheme. I hope that get brought forward, much better than the others that were proposed. Sensitive contemporary design, not just flat glass cubes.

By Anonymous