Olympic boost for Exhibition Centre

Moves to develop a world-class exhibition and events facility on Liverpool’s waterfront have taken a significant step forward, with the appointment of a contractor for the scheme.

Following a competitive tender, ISG has been granted the contract to deliver the £40 million development at Kings Dock, which will form part of ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena.

International construction services company ISG was responsible for the construction of the 6,000 seat London 2012 Velodrome, finishing ahead of schedule and on budget. It was the first venue on the Olympic Park to be completed and became one of the most iconic facilities of the 2012 Games.

The appointment of ISG means Liverpool can drive forward with its plans to deliver the 8,100 sqm, three-hall Exhibition Centre Liverpool (ECL), along with an integrated hotel which will be developed by the city council. The city council is seeking an operator to manage the upscale hotel.

The city council and ACC Liverpool will now work with ISG to further the design of the exhibition centre and hotel, with a planning submission scheduled to be submitted in March 2013. Construction of the new facilities is set to commence in autumn 2013, with a scheduled completion date of spring 2015.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “I’m delighted that we have secured such a high quality contractor for this vital scheme. ISG has an excellent track record in delivering large-scale, international projects and its appointment brings our vision to deliver a world class exhibition centre at Kings Dock a major step closer to reality.

“Building on the success of ACC Liverpool, Exhibition Centre Liverpool will continue our city’s transformation into one of Europe’s leading destinations for large-scale conferences, exhibitions and events. It will bring major economic benefits to our city, providing a massive boost for local businesses and creating jobs.

“It’s all systems go now and I’m looking forward to us working together in the coming months to progress these exciting plans.”

Plans for Exhibition Centre Liverpool include a public atrium, food and beverage outlets, meeting rooms and a business centre. The three halls will each be 2,700 sqm and will be separated by movable walls.

The facility will be capable of hosting trade and consumer exhibitions, concerts and sports events on a national and international scale.

The arrival of Exhibition Centre Liverpool will increase the existing 7,125 sqm of exhibition space at ACC Liverpool to 15,225 sqm of interlinked and flexible event space.

It will be directly connected to the existing facilities at ACC Liverpool, via a covered link, making the venue the only purpose-built interconnected arena, convention and exhibition centre in Europe.

In its first year of operation, Exhibition Centre Liverpool is expected to host about 50 events and attract more than 250,000 visitors.

It is estimated that the exhibition and event programme will support 1,300 jobs in the wider economy and contribute in the region of £40m per year in economic benefit to the Merseyside area.

David McDonnell, Chairman of ACC Liverpool, said: “Exhibition Centre Liverpool will see us extend our capabilities and allow us to welcome hundreds of thousands of additional visitors to even more events.

“Appointing ISG, a renowned building contractor with a strong reputation, will help us develop this exciting project. We are confident that the company will deliver a fantastic venue which will contribute hugely to the development of Liverpool Waterfront.”

The city council is also moving forward with plans to deliver a hotel as part of the development. A procurement process will begin shortly to identify an appropriate hotel partner to work with the council, ACC Liverpool and ISG to design and construct the hotel element.

The integrated hotel will play a key role in attracting national and international events to ACC Liverpool and will support the wider hotel economy in the city.

ISG’s Jim Parker, managing director – North West, added: “We are delighted to have been appointed as part of the team delivering this world class venue on Liverpool’s waterfront. As part of our commitment to generating a highly positive legacy and maximising the regional economic benefits of this key construction project, we will be working closely with the skilled local supply chain, as well as providing community employment and training opportunities.

“Playing a key role in the continuing vision for the development of Liverpool’s waterfront is an incredibly exciting proposition and we are relishing the challenge of delivering a venue that will further strengthen the city’s credentials as a world class business and leisure destination.”

Liverpool City Council has been working closely with the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) – the current site owners of Kings Dock – to release the seven acres of land adjacent to the existing arena and convention centre. An agreement in principle has been reached for the granting of a long lease to facilitate the development.

Funding for the facility is being raised through borrowing supported directly from the revenue generated by the centre, so that the project will be at no cost to tax-payers. It will be wholly owned by Liverpool City Council and managed by the existing ACC Liverpool team.