Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has responded to an article which has appeared in today’s Liverpool Echo regarding the purchase and the plans for the Cunard Building.
Mayor Anderson said: “The decision to buy the Cunard building was presented in a Cabinet Report on the 11/10/13 which set out the financial facts that showed the commercial sense of purchasing the Cunard Building. It included the fact that we were purchasing the building using reserves so there was no borrowing, so no interest to pay and the Council could claim back VAT on purchase price and other costs incurred. The report explained the savings that would be made in moving 800 staff from Millenium House to Cunard would be £1.3 million.
“We would also receive a capital receipt for the sale of this building based on an independent valuation. Cunard has stood substantially empty for many years and that by bringing several hundred people down to work on the waterfront we will also be generating much needed footfall.
“The report also made clear, that in addition, the City would receive in revenue by way of rents up to £800,000 per year, but only by investing in the building to make it a competitive offer to the marketplace. We are making this investment meaning it will be fit for purpose, it will have new dark fibre connectivity that will enable tenants to have modern facilities and means we will be able to keep the existing tenants if we wish and attract others that will increase income even more.
“The report also raised as an opportunity, to explore the potential of using the ground floor of the building as a cruise liner terminal facility.This was done by commissioning a feasibility study which is being done Royal Haskoning and has not yet concluded. However due to a breach of confidence by the Liverpool Echo an inaccurate figure has been given as to the cost of converting the building.
“The report although not public is commercially sensitive, but I am revealing today as a result of the Liverpool Echo’s story that there are a number of options put forward and costs. These are all based on the requirements of TRANSEC and Border Control and they range from £5 million to £60 million. They include basic covered walkways to a Mono Rail for transporting passengers. We have in addition to cost be mindful of the fact that we do not want to do anything that impacts on the World Heritage site the building is on. In light of these findings it is clear we will not be able to progress with this plan.
“However I want to reassure the City that we will find a solution and we will create a first class cruise liner terminal for our City and we have already begun conversations about other possible waterfront locations.”