Royal Liver Building Corestate pPlace North West

Corestate put the building up for sale in March. Credit: Place North West

Royal Liver Building no longer for sale

Attention will now turn to the next phase of upgrades after bids for the grade one-listed Liverpool office failed to reach the owners’ £90m aspirations. 

Corestate, which owns a 35% stake in the Royal Liver Building, instructed CBRE to find a buyer for the property in March, five years after it acquired the 330,000 sq ft asset for £48m. 

Everton FC owner Farhad Moshiri owns 49.9% and the other 15.1% is owned by a group of international investors.   

A spokesperson for CBRE said the opportunity had received “significant global and national interest” but confirmed the sales process is now “on hold”. 

“The owners are forging forward with the active asset management of the property and delivering on the next phase of The Royal Liver Building’s world-class occupier environment.” 

The next stage of modernisation work will see suites of between 500 sq ft and 9,000 sq ft created in the west atrium. 

A similar approach was taken in the east atrium and those offices are now fully let to occupiers including Mott Macdonald and Aesthetics of Royal Liver Building. The east atrium also features break-out space, meeting rooms, and a café/bar. 

“The success of the east atria offices has illustrated the pent-up demand in the market for very high-quality offices, with market-leading amenities and facilities and we hope to build on that,” said CBRE senior director Neil Kirkham. 

As well as attracting tenants, the creation of more modern workspace could also continue to drive rents up at the building. 

When Corestate acquired the property in 2017, 125,000 sq ft was vacant and rents were topping out at £15/sq ft, according to Kirkham. 

These days the void is down to around 25,000 sq ft – Everton FC took 28,000 sq ft in 2018 – with some occupiers on traditional leases paying £28/sq ft, the highest rents in the city, Kirkham said. 

Suites of plug-and-play space on the ninth floor, installed as part of CBRE’s asset management strategy, generate £33/sq ft net. 

In the basement, plans for a 17,000 sq ft gym, complete with pool, fell foul of the pandemic uncertainty. 

However, plans for a scaled-back fitness offer remain and an application for that was lodged with Liverpool City Council in the summer. 

Corestate’s focus for now is on maximising the potential of its asset and while a sale may not be forthcoming, a change in the ownership structure could still happen. 

Earlier this year, Farhad Moshiri refused to rule out acquiring a larger stake in the building when approached by Place North West. 

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