“Advance negotiations” are underway with a company it’s hoped will be the first occupant of a multi-million pound Merseyside office development. The four-storey Tower Wharf will also be the first office scheme planned within the newly designated Wirral Enterprise Zone.
Local councillors are already considering detailed plans for the 60,000sq ft scheme which, if approved, could be completed as early as next September. “This is a big office space, and one of the biggest new office developments in Liverpool for a number of years,” commented, Wirral council’s strategic director for regeneration, Kevin Adderley.
Documents accompanying the application say: “The proposal provides new office accommodation which will enhance the area, improve the currently vacant site, create a vibrant public realm, while respecting and celebrating the contextual heritage.”
The Tower Wharf office block would be able to support at least four to five hundred jobs, said Adderley. Both the council and developer, Longmeadow Estates, were in the middle of an “ongoing dialogue” with senior government officials “in terms of its delivery and importance to the local economy”.
“This is great news for Birkenhead and also for the Enterprise Zone,” continued Adderley. “This project should be a significant move in kick-starting interest in the enterprise zone and attract further developments to boost land values and create jobs.”
The office site was previously owned by the Merseyside Development Corporation, before passing to the North West Development Agency and is now owned by the Homes and Communities Agency. Because it falls within one of England’s 24 enterprise zones, potential occupants are offered fast-track planning and 100 per cent business rate relief.
The local authority is also considering an application for an adjacent Wirral Waters site, from Wirral Metropolitan College. If approved, its new campus would also be completed by September next year and, claim college bosses, would “embrace renewable energy and train the future workforce” to provide people with the skills required to create Wirral Waters.
Proposed by the Peel Group, Wirral Waters is a £4.5bn scheme to transform an area of disused shipyard and dock space into offices, waterfront hotels, bars andrestaurants and 15,000 apartments.
On the opposite bank of the River Mersey, Birkenhead’s Wirral Waters is mirrored by a still more impressive Liverpool Waters redevelopment of the city’s dockland between its centre and the still active modern port.
The Liverpool Waters site will eventually include offices, homes, cultural facilities, retail and leisure provision and a second, larger cruise ship terminal. It will also contain up to 23,000 apartments and four hotels on what is mostly Brownfield land. Its centrepiece would be the 55-storey “Shanghai Tower” intended to be the UK’s tallest building outside of London. All this, the planners claim, would create at least 17,000 new jobs.
Central London Retail Rents hit Record High