A chunk of the consumer goods giant’s research and development headquarters in Wirral has gone up for sale, a development site totalling eight acres off the M53.
Cushman & Wakefield is the sales agent acting for Unilever and offers for the site are being sought by 24 October, after Unilever earmarked the site for possible sale in May.
The Port Sunlight research facility, one of Unilever’s oldest sites built 50 years ago, sits next to Quarry Road East and St Andrews Road in Bebington, Wirral.
The site is just over a mile from Junction 4 of the M53 and sits north of an established residential area in Port Sunlight.
A spokesperson for Unilever said: “Earlier this year, we shared details of a planned investment in one of our existing buildings on our Port Sunlight Research & Development Site, with the intention to also vacate buildings and sell part of the site adjacent to Quarry Road East and part of St Andrew’s Road. We can confirm that this land is now being advertised for sale.
“Going forward, our employees in R&D will be accommodated in the modern, leading-edge facilities we’ve recently invested in, including our Advanced Manufacturing Centre and what will be our new, upgraded laboratory and workspace in Port Sunlight, and the world-class Materials Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool.”
Unilever in 2018 completed the construction of its £24m North West Advanced Manufacturing Centre, spanning 65,000 sq ft and expanding its operations at Port Sunlight to enable scientists to test ideas for personal and home care product development.
Among staff employed at the facility are 750 scientists. Unilever’s Port Sunlight factory is on nearby Wood Street and manufactures brands such as Dove, Domestos and Comfort.
Under the plans for the R&D portion of the site, existing Port Sunlight R&D staff are to relocate to newer parts of the campus – the Advanced Manufacturing Centre – while Unilever sets about upgrading its facilities including laboratories and other workspaces as part of a reported £40m national investment.
The plot up for sale is one of the older parts of the site containing a large R&D building and some adjacent facilities with a car park. It sits immediately adjacent to the new complex. The site also includes a vacant patch of potential development land behind the buildings.