Plans are being put forward to breathe new life into an historic terrace of Georgian shops in the heart of Liverpool, which have been vacant for the last six years.
The Mayoral Cabinet will be asked, on Friday 6 December, to approve new proposals which would see the Grade II listed ‘Dale Street Shops’ (87-95 Dale Street and 2-6 Cheapside) carefully restored and brought back into use.
Under the proposals, the city council would hand over the 200-year-old, council-owned buildings – situated opposite the Municipal Buildings – to local developer Jamworks Ltd for £1 on completion of all of the works, unlocking an investment of over £2 million..
Dale Street Shops are in a poor – and deteriorating – condition, and the deal would secure the future of the buildings, protecting their architectural heritage while delivering 330sq m of new retail and commercial space and 12 residential units, (a mix of two-bed apartments, studios and duplexes).
Jamworks Ltd are about to start work on the £5 million conversion of the adjacent grade II* listed Bridewell building, and if the deal for the Dale Street Shops is given the go-ahead, they would deliver the two schemes in tandem, creating a combined site, comprising private residential units on the upper floors and office and traditional retails units on the ground floor.
It is anticipated that the building work on the shops alone would create around 20 full time jobs, with further jobs created once the commercial space is let.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Dale Street Shops are an important historical landmark for the city, but they have steadily deteriorated over the past decade, becoming a real eyesore. It has been a major problem which has been difficult for us to resolve, despite the best efforts of our officers.
“The buildings are in a poor state and we know that developers are often reluctant to invest in listed buildings because of the prohibitive costs of restoring them. Taking such an innovative approach in this case gives us an excellent opportunity to finally bring these buildings back into sustainable use.
“What’s more, it would mean council taxpayers would no longer have to for the bill for the on-going costs of maintaining the buildings – so these proposals represent a sound financial deal for the public purse.
“The scheme would also build on the fantastic renaissance currently underway in the Dale Street area, including the new Hilton Doubletree, which opens in Spring, the recently-opened Ibis Styles and the on-going conversion of the Royal Insurance Building into an Aloft branded hotel.
“It’s yet another example of how we are constantly looking to work creatively with the private sector to attract investment and create new jobs, office space and homes, while preserving our heritage and bringing buildings back into use.”
Dale Streets Shops have a ‘conservation deficit’ or funding gap of approximately £650,000 due to the costly restoration works required, on top of the basic development costs. As part of the deal, the city council would make a grant of £275,000 available to the developer from its Buildings at Risk Capital programme to make the project financially viable.
Jamworks Ltd has a solid track record of dealing with heritage buildings, with other successful projects including the restoration of the listed building at 71 Shaw Street in Everton.
Mark Connor, Chief Executive from Project Managers for the scheme, Vermont Capitol Ltd, said: “This is a scheme which we are passionate about, because we are confident it has the potential to revitalise this part of Dale Street and breathe new life into an important part of Liverpool’s heritage.
“Our plans for the Bridewell building are moving forward quickly, and we believe that by combining this work with the restoration of Dale Street shops, we could create something really special. It is fantastic to bring such interesting, historical buildings back into use, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with the city council on this exciting project.”
Robust background and financial checks will be undertaken by the city council, alongside full due diligence on the detail of the proposal.
Once completed, the site would attract around £43,000 a year in business rates and £15,500 a year in council tax. As the buildings are located within the City Centre Enterprise Zone, 100% of the business rates would be retained by the Council, providing a valuable source of revenue for the city to reinvest in vital services.
A planning application will be submitted by the developer shortly and if given the go-ahead, work is expected to start in Spring 2014 and be complete within 12 months.
• 87-95 Dale Street is a small terrace of Georgian shops built around 1819.
• Situated within the Castle Street Conservation Area and UNESCO World Heritage Site, they were granted Grade II listing in 2008.
• The properties have major structural defects, notably No. 87 Dale Street (the shop unit at the junction of Dale Street and Cheapside), which was last tenanted more than 12 years ago. The remaining shops have been vacant since 2007.
• 2-6 Cheapside is linked directly to the Dale Street Shops but located to the rear. It shares many of the same features as the Dale Street Shops and is in a similar condition, structurally. This part of the terrace has been vacant since 2007.
• The Council has committed to securing the integrity of the structure pending sustainable redevelopment proposals for the properties.
• The latest figures show that Liverpool’s work to bring historic buildings back into use is having a real impact. Less than four per cent of the city’s buildings are now on the at risk register, compared to around seven per cent nationally.