Work has begun on-site to transform a prominent tower block that flanks a key route in and out of Liverpool city centre as part of the wider Project Jennifer development along Great Homer Street.
Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) has appointed contractor Willmott Dixon to bring to life John McCall Architects’ designs to overhaul Marwood Tower.
The £8m revamp will see the tower – situated on land between Great Homer Street and Kirkdale Road – transformed into 81 modern apartments for over 55s.
The proposed scheme forms part of the new Liverpool Housing Partnership forged between Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Mutual Homes, Redrow Homes and Willmott Dixon to deliver 1,500 new homes and bring a further 1,000 back into use across the city.
The scheme will see 57 flats completely refurbished and 24 new apartments built to provide a mixture of one and two-bed properties.
A new arc around the base of the tower will be built that includes a courtyard garden and a community consultation exercise is taking place to decide the designs and features.
The old and new buildings will be linked by covered walkways that open in the centre of the courtyard.
And to ensure residents’ safety, a state-of-art fire sprinkler system is being installed.
Cllr Ann O’Byrne, Cabinet Member for Housing at Liverpool City Council, said: “This is an exciting scheme which will completely transform the tower block and create much-needed good quality accommodation.
“This is another example of where we are working with partners and being creative in finding new ways of re-using existing buildings and sites to meet our commitment to build 5,000 new homes and bring another 1,000 back into use.”
Assistant Director of Development at LMH, Chris Bowen, said: “The Marwood Tower scheme is going ahead at great pace with work already on-site just weeks after planning permission was granted.
“We have appointed Willmott Dixon as they have great experience in social housing and are our lead building contractor partner under the Liverpool Housing Partnership for bringing empty properties back into use.
“It is a complex scheme with just one point of entry so it will take longer to complete than a traditional housing development but we expect the work to be finished in autumn 2016, which will be a great achievement.
“Liverpool needs more high quality housing, which is why we are supporting the Homes for Britain campaign and delivering large scale projects like Marwood Tower.
“We are bringing under-used, rundown accommodation back into use and giving residents modern, high quality apartments with a range of community facilities.”
Stuart Belfield, Operations Director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to redevelop Marwood Tower and play a role bringing precious empty properties back into use.
“We are particularly looking forward to making a difference in the community, creating local jobs throughout the works and delivering high quality housing that residents will be proud to call home.
“The scheme is going to create a lasting legacy for Liverpool because Marwood Tower is such a prominent landmark on a major route in and out of the city that is seen by millions of people every year.”
Paul Batho, Projects Director at St. Modwen, which is leading on the Project Jennifer redevelopment, said: “This latest milestone demonstrates the commitment to Project Jennifer and represents the substantial investment being made in the city.
“Marwood Tower is at the heart of Great Homer Street and is an important part of Project Jennifer, which will transform the North Liverpool area. The new homes will complement the new market and retail offer on Great Homer Street.”
The development will reach Lifetime Homes, Building for Life and Secured by Design standards.
PHOTOGRAPH: Left to right: Willmott Dixon’s Project Quantity Surveyor, Dave Dobson, Senior Build Manager at Willmott Dixon, Andy Armer, Assistant Director of Development at LMH, Chris Bowen and Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Ann O’Byrne at Marwood Tower.