Is world heritage status killing Liverpool’s office market?
In 2004 Liverpool won UNESCO World Heritage status for its historic and iconic waterfront. However, 15 years on many in the city have claimed that the status, and it’s associated ‘buffer zone’, is holding back businesses from making significant investment in the city.
With restrictions such as a “skyline policy for tall buildings”, which puts in place maximum height caps for new structures, some claim this is restricting Liverpool’s ability to provide appropriate facilities for business to thrive.
At the moment Liverpool has a reputation for its lack of Grade A office space, explains Kevin Ross from solicitors Brown Turner Ross. If you’re a business looking for locations to expand then the lack of suitable space for your needs may put you off Liverpool. That’s a problem as the city needs to be retaining and attracting businesses and the value they bring to the economy, especially with existing space being consistently converted into hotels, student accommodation, leisure and restaurant use in recent years.
The lack of Grade A space is a problem but also an opportunity. As a developer, if you know there is a demand that is not being satisfied, it makes it a much safer bet when speculatively building new office space in the city. Although there are restrictions around the world heritage site in the traditional business district, there are still opportunities within the wider city centre for a quality offer to be created for business.
The heritage status does not prevent building in totality so ambitious developers have the opportunity to create landmark developments that could become a new signature for the city, while other emerging parts of the city, around the Fabric District, Kirkdale, 10 Streets and Baltic are not only ripe for accomodation but businesses as well if nurtured properly.
The issue will always be yield for investors so it is vital to see projects such as the Knowledge Quarter and Pall Mall come to fruition and start putting Liverpool back on the map as a place to do business from.