The Observatory Liverpool

Queen Square office changes hands for £3.7m

Promenade Estates has sold The Observatory in Liverpool to social housing provider Torus for £3.65m, with the 21,000 sq ft building to become the housing group’s head office following its merger with Liverpool Mutual Homes.

The Torus Group, which includes housing providers Helena Partnerships and Golden Gates Housing, merged with Liverpool Mutual Homes in 2018 to create one of the North’s largest housing organisations.

The building at Queen Square completed 18 years ago and has been fully let ever since, forming part of the wider 660,000 sq ft of the site. It will act as Torus’ headquarters following the purchase.

Promenade’s sale follows other recent disposals by the business, including the Marine Point development in New Brighton to Aprirose; the Ramada Plaza in Southport to Bliss Estates, and a waterfront residential scheme at Albert Dock, sold to the Vista Fund.

Promenade’s managing director Daniel Hynd said the company was “on the look-out for suitable opportunities” for reinvestment following the sales.

“[Queen Square] was the first institutional-grade development in the city for years and it changed the outlook on Liverpool,” he said.

“We secured blue chip retail, hotel, office and leisure occupiers and they’re all still thriving.  I’m delighted that the Observatory has become the HQ for such a prominent regional organisation.”

Steve Coffey, Torus chief executive, added: “As a housing group, our focus is on investing in our three heartland areas of Liverpool, St Helens and Warrington; building new homes, improving existing ones and delivering initiatives that change lives.

“Our purchase of The Observatory underlines our long-term to commitment to Liverpool, its people and the communities we serve.”

Worthington Owen advised Promenade Estates on the disposal, while Torus represented itself. Brabners acted as legal adviser for both parties, and the yield was not disclosed.

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Committed to Liverpool but what about the people of Warrington and St. Helens? These massive social housing mergers prove that stock transfers do not work the needs of local people are ignored in favour of business expediency.

By Anonymous

Why don’t these social landlords base their headquarters in their communities rather than swanky offices in central Liverpool. Imagine the impact of spending £3m in north Liverpool, St. Helens or Warrington would be? This is public money after all.

By John Smith

Connectivity I believe.

By Reg Barney

It’s bigger in Liverpool I think. Queen’s Square offices could be expanded over to the Old Haymarket area generally once the flyovers are demolished I would suggest. Well located for Lime Street, there’s scope for a mini office quarter in this area as in Renshaw Street and KQ. Some of the sites developed in the 90s as Queen Square are no longer making best use of their sites and there owners could get much more out of them. When the Council eventually brings forward proposals for Williamson Square they should address the opportunities in this area as a comprehensive masterplan. It’s one if the best located and most attractive areas in the city centre and will be even more so when Lime Street/St. George’s Plateau is finished.

By Roscoe