Work is getting underway on Liverpool’s ambitious plans for a first-class retail park in the heart of the city.
The £200 million refurbishment and extension of Edge Lane Retail Park officially begins this week. It is estimated that by the time it is completed, the scheme will have created 4,000 jobs for the city.
It will see Derwent Holdings delivering high quality commercial and retail space on a key route into the city centre, including new shops, restaurants and leisure units. There will also be extensive parking and cycle spaces and public realm investment.
The scheme was given the go-ahead by Government Office for the North West last year, but the difficult economic climate has held back the start of work.
Now, following top-level talks between Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and Derwent Holdings Chairman Albert Gubay, fresh momentum has been breathed into the scheme, which is set to transform the key eastern gateway into the city centre.
(l-r) City Council Director Nick Kavanagh; Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson; Derwent Holdings Chairman Albert Gubay; Derwent Holdings Managing Director David Lyons
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, said: “This is an ambitious project, made all the more challenging by the tough economic times. But we are determined to make it happen, because we know how important it is to rejuvenate this major city gateway, delivering excellent retail and leisure facilities and creating thousands of new jobs for local unemployed people.
“That’s why I made it a priority to sit down with Mr Gubay and work through the challenges. We have held really positive discussions and I’m delighted that we have now reached a point where, working together, we are overcoming the barriers facing us and moving things forward.
“It’s great news for the city that work on this exciting scheme is officially starting on-site. It’s now all systems go, and I’m looking forward to us pressing ahead, in the coming months, with making our vision for this part of the city a reality.”
The start of work at Edge Lane Retail Park provides a further boost to regeneration in Liverpool. A new audit has found that development continues apace in the city, despite the recession, with almost £800 million worth of regeneration schemes ongoing.
Edge Lane could also benefit the city in other ways because Derwent Holdings is part of the substantial group of companies that Albert Gubay has arranged to be passed to The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation. The charity will donate to a wide range of UK charitable causes.
Albert Gubay said: “I have always had a special affection for Merseyside, so it is nice to think that rents from the group’s developments there might benefit good causes around the city.”
Edge Lane Retail Park is an important route into the city centre from the M62 motorway and talks have been going on between the council and Derwent for a number of years. The scheme is an important part of the work to improve the route into the city centre, which also includes the recently-completed Hall Lane improvements, new housing on Edge Lane and the new Royal Hospital.
Plans to rejuvenate Edge Lane’s iconic Littlewoods building have also recently moved forward, after Capital & Centric Plc submitted £16 million plans to acquire, adapt and refurbish the building, creating a hotel business, leisure and retail space.
Liverpool City Council’s Director for Regeneration, Nick Kavanagh, said: “In times of austerity, it’s more important than ever that we work creatively with the private sector and continue to build confidence in Liverpool as the place to do business. We’ve been working closely with Derwent to make sure these exciting plans come to fruition, and it’s fantastic news that this work is now paying off.
“Significant regeneration continues in this city, despite the recession, with hundreds of millions of pounds of projects underway. We want to make sure Edge Lane Retail Park is one of those projects, because of the immense benefits it will bring to Liverpool, improving the area’s commercial and retail offer, creating jobs and providing much needed regeneration.
“I’m really pleased that work is now beginning in earnest. It’s a significant milestone for this important scheme.”
Leading North West contractor, Globe Construction, has been appointed to work alongside Derwent Holdings to develop the site.
The project team for the Edge Lane Retail Park redevelopment comprises architects AEW, KFM as quantity surveyors, Roc Consulting as engineering and flood risk work, and Sanderson Associates for highways work.