£16m hotel plan for Littlewoods HQ

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A £16 million investment plan is set to transform Liverpool’s iconic Littlewoods Pools building into a hotel and create up to 750 jobs.

Capital & Centric Plc is working in connection with Liverpool City Council to give the decaying building new life and safeguard its future. The land will feature a hotel as well as create business and commercial space.

The company aims to build a 104-bedroom hotel with 75,000 square ft. of offices and 50,000 square ft. of business units.

The Edge Lane art deco building, which has not been used since 2003, has been subject to a number of different planning schemes over the years. In 2007, the regeneration company Urban Splash planned a £65 million redevelopment scheme to renovate the building into offices, apartments, leisure features and a hotel.

Further projects were scrapped in 2009 when plans to relocate two secondary schools, as part of a 45m scheme, fell through. This plan caused much controversy from people who feared that the schools would cause traffic problems on the busy road, which is a main entrance to the city centre.

The Publicly-owned land will now become a part of a £16m private sector investment and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which currently owns and manages the building, hope that this redevelopment will help increase the city’s economy and restore the iconic building.

Neil Pickering, Head of Area at the HCA, said: “The Littlewoods building is a key priority for the HCA. Capital & Centric Plc’s proposal to save this iconic building and transform it to its former glory is great news for Liverpool.”

The building, which carries great historical value from World War two, was built for Sir John Moores as a base for the Littlewoods Pools company.

Co-Founder of Capital & Centric Plc, Tim Heatley, told JMU Journalism why it is particularly important to him to repair this building and why it will benefit the area.

He said: “Sir John Moores built a large and successful business from nothing. This is one of the few remaining physical examples of what he achieved. This part of Liverpool is, to many, its remaining front door.  Many people come into Liverpool off the motorway and along Edge Lane so it’s vital that visitors get the right impression of this frantically vibrant city with its rich architectural and cultural heritage.

“It will act as a catalyst of confidence in the area. The investment required to bring it back into use is immense and this will be a big sign of confidence in the area.”

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has praised the mission as great way of reinvigorating the Liverpool landmark, which he feels has been neglected for too long.

He said: “This is a really positive step forward in bringing the historic Littlewoods building back into use. This important Liverpool landmark has lain empty for too long and we are determined to do all we can to secure its future.”

The proposal is said to be realistic and money-saving as it will renovate what is already there, instead of destroying the entire building.

Mr Heatley told JMU Journalism:  “By adapting the building to make it desirable to occupiers, we take the benefit of all that is intrinsically good with the building. By using these key features that already exist we don’t demolish or destroy its value.

“By reusing the building we immediately have a more economical construction cost; this means that the money we spend on the building will be focussed on adding value and not rebuilding space that already existed.”

About Michaela Routledge, JMU Journalism