8 Water Street road

Office-to-resi pipeline grows in Liverpool city centre

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Plans have been revealed for the conversion of an empty office on Water Street, next to Oriel Chambers and Martins Bank, into 96 apartments following the sale of the block to a Chinese investor earlier this year.

The 73,000 sq ft office was sold in May by Columbia Threadneedle to Chinese company Sino Swan Holdings, also the owner of No.2 Moorfields in Liverpool. The building was bought for around £3.7m.

Ascot Property Investments and Brook House Investments are the buy-to-let agents for 8 Water Street. The proposed scheme has been named The Residence.

According to marketing materials, the plans for the 1970s building includes “a complete overhaul of the building’s façade, the installation of feature lighting throughout and, subject to planning, the addition of two further floors”.

The work on the block will retain the “unique porthole styling in line with the architect’s original contemporary and minimalist vision”.

The Residence is being marketed to buy-to-let investors at £225/sq ft. The flats proposed are a mix of studio, one and two-bedrooms.

8 Water Street has been largely vacant for a number of years, and was previously the head office for Aviva. In recent years the building was used by artistic collective If Only, which sub-let the space from Shape Arts.

The project  the latest in a string of residential conversions being brought forward within Liverpool’s commercial district. Fortis Developments and Signature Living submitted a planning application in May for 125 flats in Silkhouse Court, and earlier this year Bruntwood gained consent for the conversion of Orleans House into 75 apartments, before selling the building to Delph Property Group.

Your Comments

There won’t be much of a commercial district left if this carries on – where is the office space to replace this coming from? Or are we holding our hands up and saying “Game Over! Let’s be Bath!”…?

By timelord

Surely we need MORE high quality commercial office space in the commercial district. How is the city going to attract new businesses to the area and facilitate the opportunity for businesses to expand in the commercial district when half the area is filled with residential and there is a lack of available space? Many people/business are concerned of the lack of grade A office space coming to market and the fact that we will be left with none in the not-too-distant future.

By XYZ

I agree with both of the above comments,
A cluster of 1millon square feet if grade A flexible office building with very attractive rates is need soon, otherwise companies looking for a base will look else where!

By Stuart wood

I’ve heard that developers will not commit to building offices in Liverpool because the rates per sq. ft are too low for it to be profitable. By taking vacant space off the market, such as the buildings mentioned in the article, the supply is limited, increasing demand and therefore increasing the rate/sq.ft. Once this gets to a level when developers can build grade A offices at a profit I am sure there will be proposals for new builds around Pall Mall, Princes Dock, Moorfields etc

By ABC

ABC – reducing supply doesn’t increase demand. That’s not how the market works. Businesses either want to locate in an area or they don’t. They could convert all the excess which have been empty for years without it having much impact on £/ft. Only by creating an actual shortage of space could they raise the marketable price and though that may lead to the odd office development, it’s not going to drive demand for occupants. Liverpool needs a bigger intervention than that. It needs its own Media City-scale investment.

By Jeremy

I don’t think the “lack” of office development is a bad thing in itself. Good to see there is demand for people to live in this area, and existing buildings are being given a second life. Does Liverpool “need” a Media City type investment? What’s the point if so many of the jobs at such places go to people moving in to the area from elsewhere?

Liverpool is better focussing on its strengths – the ports and tourism – and addressing some of the social problems in its poorer districts. This is better than providing more and more glass boxes to be occupied by educated classes from the outside who only take from as much as this give to the city.

By zebith

The city will attract the glass office boxes too in the right locations, but better that quality locations like this are used to continue Liverpool’s revival as a place to live and enjoy yourself. The historic port was also an attractive place to live during its early history and that is coming back. It’s only a matter of time before it all shifts back to Liverpool from Manchester… the city’s attractiveness is gathering pace and word is spreading… there’ll be a rush to Liverpool on the office front too once we hit tipping point… in the meantime carry on bringing in the resi’s the hotels, the quality restaurants and bars.

By Alfie

Alfie – you’re dead right (which, in relation to eventual glass boxes is unfortunate). Liverpool has an enviable USP in being a fantastic place to live – it needs to continue to focus on this, by encouraging quality over quantity. The announced streetworks/urban realm package is a step in the right direction in this regard.

By zebith

Subscribe to our newsletter