Pall Mall Liverpool Consultation Image

Speculative development at Pall Mall ‘unlikely’ as plans progress

Charlie Schouten

Kier Property and CTP are on course to submit a planning application for the £200m commercial development in Liverpool in the coming weeks but have warned the opening phase will likely need a tenant on board before construction can begin.

The project will see a large swathe of the city around Bixteth Gardens and Exchange Station redeveloped to bring forward 400,000 sq ft of offices, a hotel, leisure and retail space, and a public square. A planning application will be submitted within the next few weeks; this will be a hybrid application, with full permission for the first office building and public realm, and outline permission for two further offices and a hotel.

The partners showcased the latest timeline and designs for the scheme at a public consultation held at 5 St Paul’s Square this week; the first phase includes an office of just over 100,000 sq ft, featuring floor plates of around 15,000 sq ft per floor.

Oliver Butler of Kier Property told Place North West there had been “a lot of interest” from potential occupiers, but the development was “very unlikely” to be brought forward speculatively, with the scheme hinging on securing a number of pre-lets before construction could begin.

Targets for tenants include a possible co-working operator on the mezzanine and ground floors.

Future commercial phases, according to Butler, are dependent on tenant demand; two further offices of around 150,000 sq ft and around 90,000 sq ft are being brought forward under the outline planning permission.

Pall Mall Liverpool June 2019

Pall Mall is being backed by Liverpool City Council given the city’s lack of office space within the city centre; the council has identified a “desperate need” for new space and has brought forward a strategic regeneration framework for the city’s commercial business district in an attempt to combat the shortfall. The opening consultation event on the CBD is being held today.

Also under the outline is a hotel, reaching around 13 storeys and set to feature 281 bedrooms. Butler said there were discussions ongoing with a “four-star-plus” operator, and the delivery of the hotel could “accelerate” once the first office gets under way, and if a deal with the operator is agreed.

Funding, however, remains to be secured. Butler said Kier and CTP were “exploring a number of avenues” to get funders on board but again added discussions had been “positive”.

A contractor is yet to be appointed, but the scheme will go out to tender once plans are submitted, with Kier and CTP potentially using a tender list provided by Liverpool City Council. Willmott Dixon is currently delivering the remediation of Bixteth Gardens on the site.

The possible sale of Kier Property, following restructuring at its parent business earlier this week, has not impacted the development, with Kier Property’s business plan for the year already agreed.

A planning application is expected in late June or early July; Kier and CTP hope to have a planning consent in place by winter this year. Construction of the first phase and the public realm is expected to begin in spring 2020 and complete in winter 2021; the first occupation of the new office is anticipated the following spring.

Future phases, covering land stretching to Leeds Street, are likely to include a wider mix of uses including residential and a multi-storey car park.

The development of the site has proved to be controversial, particularly around the remediation of Bixteth Gardens, which is currently being remediated to help support the scheme. Campaigners unsuccessfully tried to halt the gardens being developed earlier this year; however, it is understood opposition to the scheme has weakened, while a potential judicial review against the remediation of Bixteth Gardens never materialised.

Bixteth Gardens is to be closed for a period of around two-and-a-half years while construction works are ongoing, but the developers said the project would lead to a net gain in green space and public realm once the project is delivered, providing 80,200 sq ft of public space, compared with 60,000 sq ft currently at the site.

This public space will feature a pavilion which could be used as a café or restaurant, while ground floor space in the commercial developments is also earmarked for retail or leisure.

The professional team on the project includes architect Allies & Morrison, along with landscape architect Re-form. Colliers and Worthington Owen are the agents.

Your Comments

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Could someone explain why Liverpool council is unwilling to offer a lease wrap to get things going? They’ve been remarkably coy on the subject, yet it was key to Salford getting its office quarter off the ground.

By Sceptical

If only our politicians would get a back bone and put Liverpool first and stop cozying up to the city down the road.

By MMcDoomsayer

This is absolutely outrageous news! And shows clear bias by the government against Liverpool! Liverpool is one of the most historic and significant office district’s in the world. It boasted the world’s first elevator and office filing cabinet and fountain pen so why can’t we build new office’s is beyond me. The only explanation is government bias against Liverpool and towards Manchester and Sheffield! This must stop or our grandchildren will have no good jobs to go into!

By Mary Woolley

The Capital Building alone is bigger than 410,000sqft, so 400,000sqft could easily be filled in one go by a civil service consolidation such as what happened at the India Buildings. Its just not enough space being proposed.

By Anon

Get a grip Mary

By J Blige

Good grief, so much Manchester bashing…Manchester cannot be blamed for looking after, and promoting its own interests – GM success has been achieved with a tremendous amount of hard work, determination and not taking no for an answer. The city of Liverpool has great potential, but its up to Liverpool to raise its game, it needs to be innovative, bold, progressive….that’s the way to get things done instead of blaming others.

By Anonymous

I agree Liverpool needs to be brave far smaller north west cities authorities have signed up as guarantors to new office development….Shame Liverpool can’t …..but ….also agree we can’t bkame Manchester the fault for lack Grade A office space in Liverpool. This development is a good start …..but we need to be more ambitious….for Liverpool and not keep focusing on Manchester.

By Graham

No-one is blaming Manchester except spoof Manchester writers! Get a grip and leave Liverpool to get in with it!

By Roscoe

Realistically always the case. Not Kier’s priority to carry a long term investment in this site. Not core and won’t help the share price. CTP have no visible financial strength to invest. Liverpool would need a very good deal to spec fund it.

By Anonymous

To be fair Liverpool should look at its own distribution of business and wealth across the Merseyside region. Little or no thought is ever given to the rest. The Wirral would be better served under Cheshire. A change has surely got to come.

By Heswall

@Heswall please bore off

By Anonymous

So in other words, the locals were right about this all along. No development, just loss of a pocket park and some secret plans to do who knows what with this land. In god only knows what timescale. Because of course what Liverpool needs is more wasteland and fewer nice streetscapes, right?

There are two large things which are strangling the life out of Liverpool’s commercial economy. One is the lack of transparency. A city in which the people at large are last to know, where everything is a done deal and they just have to put up with it, is not a good business proposition. To invest, quality businesses need transparency and the ability to be able to subsequently rely on good governance just as much as the people who live there.

If there is evidence this confidence doesn’t exist, it’s the number of FDIs in Manchester dwarfing Liverpool (the city that went to expo!) That the prospect of a building being non-commercially developed instead sees a major investor divest themselves, rather than increase their holding.

The second on the list is the one constant to this sad continuing decade long saga. The cause of the lack of transparency.

By Mike

Oh and of course, we won’t read a peep about this in the “Liverpool” Echo.

By Mike

For goodness sake Mike,can we please forget about Manchester and leave it on the Liverpool ssc forum where it belongs.

By Anonymous

We are one city from Formby to Heswall. We need a much stronger city regional dimension to take forward strategic matters.

By Roscoe

@Roscoe. I don’t think a lot on the Wirral and Croaby would necessarily agree with that.

By Bing Crosby.

All Liverpool wants to do is build build build at any cost, over any green space or park, just for the sake of keeping up with the Manchester’s.

By Anonymous

We are all Liverpudlians, certainly in Crosby! And that goes for the vast majority in Formby too! For much of the rest of the city region Liverpolitan is a good term; and it is the old term for someone from the Liverpool area. What is clear though is that the vast majority if us know we are stronger when we stick together.

By Roscoe

‘Build as fast as we can…’ – that’s a quote from Richard Leese I think. Liverpool just needs to be left to get on with it and forget what other cities do.
The Commercial District needs a clear plan and a vision that unites Liverpool Waters with Old Hall Street.

By Roscoe

Unfortunately Liverpool lacks an inspirational and suitably qualified leader that can truly promote the city on a global scale to attract inward investment. It all starts from the top.

By TB

Why is Liverpool still being led by people who haven’t evolved since the 1980’s? We need someone at the helm with a better image to reflect the city’s renaissance and who will hopefully attract businesses to our CBD. The city’s tourist industry is growing year on year which is great but we are lagging behind other cities commercially. People from outside the LCR very often have a misconception of our city and we desperately need someone to spearhead a change in this area.

By Resurgence

Liverpool has resurged hugely, and it is completely transformed from the 1980s. The leadership in fairness is millions of times better. But, a legacy from our past, perhaps, is that we don’t have a truly inspirational figure at the helm.
The metro role is not powerful enough and Joe’s remit us extremely limited. Neither roles have the kudos to attract the best. This goes for other cities too. Metro Liverpool is not the only city in the north that needs better leadership, but it is ahead of many. Considering where we started from, on the governance front, we’re not doing so badly, but we do need to step up to the next level!

By Roscoe

@Heswall. I am from Chester originally but have now settled in Heswall. The Wirral definitely feels part of the Liverpool city region (and, as an aside, I think Chester should also be included; it is on the metro line after all). I think Liverpool and Wirral should be merged into a single authority – then it would be incumbent on the council to develop both sides of the Mersey. Personally, I like the idea of the tidal barrage because if nothing else it will permit pedestrian crossings across the Mersey (I would prefer an iconic bridge but I cannot see that happening!)

Anyway, let’s hope the office space gets taken. I think it is way too premature to be doom mongering yet.

By Chris

Chris, forget it.Chester is Chester, not Liverpool. Our own history, city walls and local economy. For some reason I think you`re a Liverpudlian.

By Deva AD 79

@ Deva AD 79

I was born (Countness), raised (Saltney) and later lived in Chester (Hoole). I am not saying Chester is Liverpool. Of course, each place in a city region can have its own identity. I think where I live now (Heswall) has its own identity. However, I think they all belong to a larger system – Greater Liverpool if you like, which can – and should – be mutually beneficial to all parties.

By Chris

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