A report going to the authority’s Cabinet on Friday, 3 February is recommending the sale to Fragrance Group Limited (FGL), a Singapore-based property company, be approved.
FGL has a portfolio of more than 80 projects with overseas development properties including Premier Tower, a skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia, but this will be its first acquisition in Europe.
The landmark Grade II listed city centre office, which has unique design features of the Italian and French renaissance, is to be sold on a 250 year lease
The building, which opened in 1866, is expected to be handed over in Spring. The hotel, subject to planning permission, would also include a restaurant.
Municipal Buildings, which has space for 1,000 staff, currently only has 640 employees accommodated there due to a significant reduction in the council’s head count in recent years.
The proposal is part of an accommodation strategy which aims to deliver significant ongoing savings and generate funding which can be reinvested in reducing the costs of the city’s major infrastructure projects programme.
Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Municipal Building has been a magnificent home for Liverpool City Council since the 1860s but we no longer have the staff numbers to justify retaining it.
“I’m delighted we have a buyer of international repute who is looking to use Liverpool to break into the UK and European hotel market. This will have a great impact in terms of generating jobs and bosting out international appeal.
“We will work with FGL to ensure that its future use protects the building’s unique architectural features, as we have done with the neighbouring Municipal Annexe and Royal Insurance Building which have also recently been brought back into use as four star hotels.
“The sale will bring in much needed money which we can reinvest in reducing the costs of our capital infrastructure programme, as well as delivering ongoing savings by lowering our overheads.”
The building is on three floors with an extensive basement, and covers 11,494 square metres. Its appeal to the hotel market was boosted by its proximity to the city’s retail and cultural sectors and to the waterfront and cruise liner operations.
Council workers are being moved to other existing sites across the city such as Cunard Building at the Pier Head, Premier Court on Hatton Garden, Venture Place on Sir Thomas Street and Wavertree Customer Focus Centre on Wavertree Road.
The One Stop Shop based in Municipal Building will be relocated to a self-contained unit within the refurbished St John’s Market, ensuring that customers can still access council services in a central location.
Consideration is also being given to putting other public-facing Government services in the facility to generate wider savings.