A £70m office development proposed by Northern Irish developer West Bay Capital on the edge of Liverpool's commercial district has gained planning consent by the council.
The committee approved the scheme that will see a new tower block as a centre piece of a development that earned praise from planners for its high quality architecture and modern design.
West Bay plans two buildings of eight and 18 storeys designed by Broadway Malyan architects at 30 Pall Mall. These will be linked by a glazed courtyard, with 165 basement-level car parking spaces. Retail units are proposed for the ground floor of the complex.
The office blocks will provide 228,000 sq ft of offices, with the retail area and glazed atrium spanning 19,100 sq ft.
The scheme forms the next significant development project in Liverpool's business area with the potential, say planners, to act as a catalyst for the whole-scale regeneration of the commercial district, viewed as crucial in the city's drive to compete as a premier European office centre and world-class business exchange.
The scheme also fits economic development agency Liverpool Vision's plans to extend the commercial district through St Paul's Square and into Pall Mall towards Leeds Street. Public-private developer English Cities Fund is in talks with Vision and partners over a masterplan for a large part of the area that could see 1m sq ft of new commercial space built.
Ashley Moore, director of West Bay, said: "I am delighted the planning committee has granted planning consent for 30 Pall Mall. It will act as a springboard for Liverpool as the UK recovers from the recession by delivering high quality office space.
"We have always viewed 30 Pall Mall as an important site that would signify the expansion of Liverpool's office economy. We have been determined to support Liverpool's bid to attract the Ministry of Justice. The city has a strong offer in terms of skills, infrastructure and quality of life; we can now offer them a world class building that will meet all of the MoJ's requirements."
Matt Brook, from the Liverpool office of Broadway Malyan, added: "The committee's decision is a very significant vote of confidence in the growth of Liverpool's economic future. The scheme is fundamental to Liverpool's economic growth, particularly around the commercial quarter. As architects we are delighted the chair of the planning committee commented very positively on the attractiveness of the scheme."
Liverpool is in the running for the re-location of 5,000 Ministry of Justice jobs, set to be switched from London – with the new Pall Mall complex expected to be in contention as a new home for the civil servants.