PLANS for a major addition to the city’s waterfront have taken another leap forward with the appointment of a firm of architects.
Work on the £40m exhibition centre at Kings Dock will be carried out by the international practice Denton Corker Marshall, whose previous projects include the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
The new venue will take the form of an extension to the Echo Arena, and will also include an upmarket hotel with up to 200 bedrooms. It will be known as Exhibition Centre Liverpool (ECL) and is expected to open in spring 2015.
The 8,100 sq m, three-hall centre will be directly connected to the existing building by means of a covered link or “sky bridge”, giving Liverpool the only purpose-built interconnected arena convention centre (ACC) and exhibition facility in Europe.
The appointment of architects follows last month’s announcement that construction services company ISG has been contracted to build the exhibition centre.
An operator is now being sought to manage the hotel element.
Steve Quinlan, senior partner at Denton Corker Marshall, said: “We are delighted to be working with Liverpool city council, ISG and ACC Liverpool on this exciting new addition to one of the world’s most iconic waterfront locations.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson added: “I am pleased that we have secured an architect with the international reputation of Denton Corker Marshall for this important scheme.
“They will bring real expertise and innovation to the table, as we move ahead with the plans to deliver a world class exhibition centre on our waterfront.”
It is estimated the new exhibition centre will support 1,300 jobs and add £40m annually to the regional economy.
Contractor ISG was also responsible for the construction of the 6,000 seat Olympic velodrome in London.
Liverpool council owns the arena and convention centre and is borrowing the money to fund the expansion.
The city claims it will be at no cost to the taxpayer as the borrowing will be paid for by revenue generated by the centre.
A planning application is scheduled to be submitted in March, with construction due to start next autumn.