CAPITAL & CENTRIC has completed its acquisition of the former Littlewoods building and agreed a 250 year lease with Liverpool City Council to deliver a major hub for film, television and other creative industries.
The building was constructed during 1938 in an art deco style and was used to process the betting slips from the Football Pools – which was run by the Sir John Moores, with his brother Cecil, the owners of Littlewoods.
The buildings further importance is highlighted by the contribution made to the war effort when its vast internal spaces were enlisted in the national interest during WWII. At the outbreak of the war the building’s mighty printing presses were used to print some 17 million National Registration forms in just three days.
The floors of Halifax Bombers were assembled at the building as well as barrage balloons. Its design was such that it became the nerve centre of MC5, the government agency that intercepted and censored mail to break enemy codes. Bomb shelters in the basement areas of the building still contain artwork and graffiti on the walls dating from the 1941 Wartime Blitz.
The new land deal, which sits within the Central Liverpool Mayoral Development Zone, also includes an adjacent six acre development site on Edge Lane.
Tim Heatley of CAPITAL & CENTRIC said: “This acquisition marks an important milestone for us, it is the result of more than five years hard work and the next step in realising our vision for this high profile site.
“Liverpool City Council and the Homes & Communities agency have been very supportive of our plans for this iconic building, which forms an important gateway to the city. We’re excited at the opportunity to restore the Littlewoods Buildings and give it an exciting new lease of life that will put it on a national stage and finally give it the recognition that it deserves.
“Last year we completed the speculative redevelopment of the neighbouring Bunker building, which is now fully let. Bunker has successfully attracted a mix of media and tech companies that will inspire the future of our Littlewoods scheme and we can’t wait to get started.
“Our vision for the site is to see it not just become the heart of Liverpool’s vibrant film and media industry, but a draw to companies in this sector both nationally and internationally. We aren’t looking for companies interested solely in co-location, but in collaboration, to be a part of a hub that can fully capitalise on Liverpool’s world-class offer as a filming location.
“We are in the last throws of finalising the legal agreements with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for gap funding to secure the long-term future of this iconic structure. We already have a significant amount of occupier interest which is testament to the standing of the building, given we haven’t yet commenced any marketing activity.”
The next phase of development represents a £35m investment from CAPITAL & CENTRIC and once complete will create in excess of 350 new jobs.
Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, the Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “We’re delighted that CAPITAL & CENTRIC have now completed the acquisition of the Littlewoods site. We are well aware of their excellent track record in delivering innovative buildings and I’m sure they will handle this vital piece of regeneration with sensitivity and great imagination.
“The digital and creative industries are a multi-billion pound growth opportunity for the Liverpool City Region over the next decade and this development represents a unique opportunity to further accelerate this sector. The City Council fully support the plans that CAPITAL & CENTRIC have drawn up and look forward to working closely with them as the scheme is delivered.”