Renovated Liverpool offices make the grade

Posted on by John Cronin

Commercial property developers are increasing the availability of premium grade floor space in Liverpool by renovating existing office buildings.

As highlighted by the just-released offices in the well-known India Buildings block in Water Street, developers are increasing the somewhat limited stock of Grade A office space in Liverpool by renovating old city centre buildings. The Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, One Derby Square and 43 Castle Street are just some of the properties to have received extensive refurbishment over the last 12 months.

Developer Green Property Limited has opened up the myriad of narrow corridors and small, individual rooms within India Buildings to make available a range of flexible floorplates including whole floors within the listed building. Available office space ranges from 200 sq ft (18.5 sq m) to 35,000 sq ft (3,251 sq m) on a single floor with Grade A specification accommodation included. Rental prices are not currently quoted by joint agents CB Richard Ellis and Matthews Goodman.

Across The Strand at The Port of Liverpool building, developers Downing have commenced work on a new 8,330 sq ft office suite on the second floor of the Grade II listed building. Downing, Liverpool’s largest private commercial landlord is reporting healthy interest in the office space that will warrant a premium rental price. Downing has spent £15m in total on restoration works at The Port of Liverpool building, including restoring the iconic dome. The whole project is one of the UK’s largest privately-funded refurbishments of a listed building.

Paul Jolley, CB Richard Ellis associate director, said in a recent interview:

“A number of major owners, such as UK Land & Property, Downing and Green Property have upgraded their buildings.

“There used to be very little Grade A office space in the city, but this has markedly improved with the installation of modern specification of lighting and air conditioning.

“Of course, properties of India Buildings’ era are based on spinal corridors with small offices and now ways of working have changed.

“But, as more forward-thinking owners have shown, it’s not difficult to change that to keep up with the times.”

But not all Grade A office space in Liverpool is confined to the abundance of 2,500 listed buildings within the city, many being located in the business district. Developers English City Fund have just celebrated a topping out ceremony on the last phase of No 4 St Paul’s Square. The 109,000 sq ft new build, located in the business quarter of the city, is due for completion in May 2011, providing multi-let, Grade A rated office space. The scheme is one of the most significant speculative developments in Liverpool since the 2006 completion of 20 Chapel Street, a 150,000 sq ft new-build tower whose tenants include Liverpool Football Club, Barclays and Barclays Wealth, Bank of Ireland and Ernst & Young.

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