Liverpool plans office boom as supply dries up.
A report to city council’s cabinet on Friday will recommend a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) be drafted seeking to develop the district and potentially connect it to the development of Princes Dock in the £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme. The brief, brought forward by the council in partnership with the Liverpool City Region and Professional Liverpool, will be put out to the market early next month and a team is expected to be in place by July.
The business district, which covers 40 acres at the northern fringe of the city centre, predominantly consists of offices. It saw office take-up up rise by 16% in 2016 but vacant office stock continues to fall and now stands at just 958,083 sq ft with only 330,438 sq ft ready to occupy. Based on current projections there will be no grade A office space available in the city centre by the end of the year.
To address the shortage the city council is seeking to support a £200m plan to develop a scheme in Pall Mall, with Kier Property, that will provide 400,000 sq ft of new Grade A office space.
The council is also investing £100m in new road infrastructure at the northern fringe of the district and has recently submitted a planning application to create a new cruise terminal at Princes Dock.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool’s business district is a major engine in the city’s economy and its future growth needs to be proactively managed to maximise its potential and further underpin the development of Liverpool Waters.
“The supply of Grade A office space is critical to any successful city centre which is why we are supporting the Pall Mall development but to stimulate demand and provide more supply, which will in turn create much needed jobs in the professional sector, we need a long term vision which this Spatial Regeneration Framework will underpin.”
“The fact is the city centre has boomed in the past decade in its appeal for shoppers, tourists and those wanting to live in a great city centre and the competing needs of a growing population and visitor economy now needs to be addressed to ensure the district remains a dynamic and vital cog in our commercial economy for the next 20 years.”
Steve Stuart, Chair of the Professional & Business Services Board for Liverpool City Region, said: “There is a shared concern between public and private sector about the commercial office market in Liverpool in terms of low rentals and availability of high quality Grade A and Grade B space.
“Working with partners we recommend a framework that enables the proactive development of the commercial district that can meet current and future demands.”
Following cabinet approval a brief will be put to the market in the summer with consultation to follow in the autumn, before a final SRF is submitted in early 2019.
The city council has recently followed a similar process to masterplan for the Ten Streets Creativity District, Knowledge Quarter Gateway and Baltic Triangle.
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