Liverpool City Council is expected to pay £10m for the Cunard Building which will be used as city’s new cruise terminal.
The Grade II-listed building, which is currently owned by the Merseyside Pension Fund (MPF), will return to its roots and replace the temporary terminal at Princes Parade next year, or early 2015.
MPF manages the pension investments of Merseyside local authority workers and paid £18.25m for the building in September 2001.
Pam Wilsher, Head of Visitor Economy Development at Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, told JMU Journalism: “This proposal has the potential to offer cruise passengers a unique and memorable experience. No other port or city in the world has this historic connection with Cunard Line, and if their former world headquarters can once again welcome passengers, the impact on our visitor economy will be significant.”
Built in 1914 by Cunard shipping line, the six-storey building has 11 acres of floor space and the council plans to use this to house over 1,000 of its office staff, in a bid to save £1.35m a year.
The ground floor will be restored and used for passengers embarking on cruises from Liverpool, after being occupied by offices since the 1990s.
After its completion in 1917, the building was Cunard Line’s head office for over 50 years, until the firm moved to Southampton.
The Cunard Building sits between the Liver Building and Port of Liverpool Building, making it one of Liverpool’s ‘Three Graces’ which line the city’s waterfront. It was once the headquarters and main passenger terminal for Cunard.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson announced on Friday that the city will buy the 96-year-old building, and council officers believe that the plan will boost tourism and investment in the city.
Peter Shanks, president and managing director of Cunard Line has welcomed plans to restore the former world headquarters, deeming it an “obvious choice” because of its remarkable interior.
The proposal will be considered by the council at a cabinet meeting on the 11th October.