A £300m TOWER block, rising to 60 storeys, standing on an island on Liverpool’s waterfront will be taller than any other outside London, property developers Peel Holdings said last night
The company unveiled ambitious plans for a skyscraper it wants to build in the Princes Half Tide Dock called Shanghai Tower, in homage to the Chinese city twinned with Liverpool.
The aim is for its one million square feet of development space to house offices, apartments, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities, along with the city’s first five star hotel and even a rooftop helipad.
Liverpool leader Cllr Warren Bradley said last night it had the potential to be one of the most exciting developments in Europe.
It comes as plans were also revealed yesterday for an exciting £60m redevelopment of the art deco former Littlewoods Pools building on Edge Lane with scope for a 100-bed hotel, which is among an impressive £220m portfolio of projects in the city by developers Urban Splash.
The highest tower in the North West, Peel’s Shanghai Tower will be designed by one of four world class architects AFL, Broadway Malyan, Chapman Taylor or Benoy.
The building’s name was inspired by a visit to the Chinese city just two weeks ago by Peel Holding’s development director Lindsey Ashworth, and chairman John Whittaker.
The company yesterday revealed the brief given to the four architects involves a 60- storey structure, which when finished will be surrounded by water in the Princes Half Tide Dock.
Mr Ashworth revealed: “This was conceived two weeks ago when we were in Shanghai.
“During the course of the week there, we were so impressed by the visual appearance of their waterfront and expanding economy, and level of business investment taking place there, that we decided it was appropriate to make a pledge to the Chinese dignitaries in honour of our visit.
“We pledged to construct the tallest building in the North West in our Liverpool Waters scheme and we have named it Shanghai Tower.”
The building will loom above the 40-storey Beetham West tower, currently under construction in nearby Brook Street and even over the 53-storey skyscraper proposed for the site of the former King Edward pub, near to Princes Dock.
It is understood it will also be taller than Manchester’s Beetham tower, which stands at 47 storeys and is 171 metres high.
Shanghai Towers will have one million square feet of space and parking will be hidden beneath the structure.
Peel, which also has plans to revitalise Liverpool’s Central Docks and Wirral’s docklands in Birkenhead and Wallasey, has said it plans for both waterfronts to be developed to rival cities such as Dubai, Vancouver, New York and Shanghai.
The Shanghai tower will be the first phase of developments planned as part of Peel’s massive £5.5bn Liverpool Waters project, which is the biggest ever regeneration scheme in the city’s history.
In March the Daily Post revealed images of the Manhattan-style scheme, which will include homes for 25,000 people, and is hoped could be completed by 2025.
Last night Peel said plans for the Shanghai Towers project would be submitted to the council after the winning design had been chosen, and building would start as soon as permission was granted.
The designs will be revealed in eight weeks time, but Peel could not give a final date for the project to be completed.
Mr Ashworth said: “Our proposed development schemes, Liverpool and Wirral Waters, an investment in excess of £10bn, are founded on the concept and vision of clusters of tall buildings in a waterfront environment and setting so it is important that we make the effort to learn from other great cities whose city fathers many years ago chose to pursue a similar strategy.
“In Liverpool we have the Three Graces facing the Mersey, in Shanghai there must have been at least ‘Thirty Graces’ on the waterfront; beautiful historic buildings set against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers creating a thriving, bustling and vibrant city for commerce, living and tourism.
“Having witnessed such a spectacle, I believe the potential for Liverpool’s waterfront is even more enormous than I first thought, not just to enhance the beauty of the Three Graces but to support and add to the existing City centre in terms of all its attractions.”
Peel is understood to be in negotiations with thee companies to operate the five-star hotel, which are described as among the world’s “biggest and prestigious names”.
The tower will include high quality office space and apartments that will offer some of the best views in the country.
Bars, restaurants and many other leisure facilities will also be housed inside.
Mr Ashworth said it would be a unique building and “deserves to be ambitious”.
He said: “To fill in the dock and put something there would be easier, but would also lose something. Going up tall and narrow we would lose less of the water.”
Mark Basnett, operations director at economic development and inward investment agency The Mersey Partnership, took part in the recent trade mission to Shanghai.
He said: “Plans for the Shanghai Tower reinforce Liverpool’s reputation as a truly world-class city, whose waterfront is being transformed by major new investments and developments.”
Cllr Warren Bradley, said: “The scale of this scheme shows how Liverpool is now regarded by developers as a city whose ambition knows no bounds.
“It demonstrates a confidence in the city and is the type of development Liverpool needs to establish its place as an international city.
“It is potentially one of the most exciting schemes in Europe and could further enhance our waterfront.
“The decision to set the bar high on quality design is important and I welcome the decision by Peel to launch this design competition.
“We are a city which has always looked outwards and sought inspiration from other cities.
“This proposal reflects the 21st century skyline of Shanghai in a way that will mirror its new and dramatic architecture among the buildings of the Bund which themselves pay homage to our own Three Graces.
“However, this scheme is still at its early stages and I must point out that it will still be subject to the normal planning procedures.”
Peel are in discussions with Liverpool City Council about the impact Shanghai Tower would have on the city and are now receiving guidance prior to a planning application.