Liverpool City Council is set to unveil a £1bn masterplan to create a ‘sub-town’ to the North of the city in the coming weeks, to link with the university district and present a viable investment opportunity for Asian investors.
Speaking on a panel at the MIPIM UK conference in London on attracting Asian funds into the property market, Liverpool City Council’s chief executive Ged Fitzgerald said the council was “about to go public” on a project which would connect to nearby hospitals and universities and would be “instantly available” for investment.
The site earmarked for development is understood to be the former Archbishop Blanch Church of England School on Mount Vernon Road, which is near to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the University of Liverpool. The school opened its new campus in Wavertree last month.
Fitzgerald declined to confirm the location or details of the scheme when asked by Place North West.
According to Fitzgerald, the North’s increasing attractiveness to foreign investment, particularly the Chinese market, was connected to the upscaling opportunities presented by the Northern Powerhouse.
“The Northern Powerhouse makes sense for us to market ourselves, aggregate ourselves and scale up, as even our biggest cities are like suburbs to China,” he said.
“The frustration is that too much investment stays in London. In the last 18 months we’ve seen investors increasingly look to Birmingham, Manchester and now Liverpool as London is overheating. Manchester and Liverpool returns may be lower, but are less volatile.”
Speaking alongside Fitzgerald was Stanley Ching, senior managing director and head of real estate at CITIC Capital, part of one of the largest conglomerates in China and currently managing a $1bn real estate portfolio.
Ching maintained that Chinese investment activity in the UK market would occur much faster than most people predicted.
“Manchester and Liverpool are becoming a hot topic, and we’re already discussing opportunities in those areas,” he said. “It is happening, and quickly.”