LIVERPOOL’S landmark Littlewoods building has been saved from demolition with a £16m investment.
The iconic art deco site on Edge Lane has been rescued by the Homes and Communities Agency and a private sector firm who will turn sections of it into commercial and leisure space and potentially a hotel.
For months, it had been a race against time to ensure the future of the former Littlewoods Pools headquarters. Because of the sheer scale and state of disrepair, the likelihood of a private company buying the site and going it alone to restore it was slim.
However, the HCA – formerly English Partnerships – and developer Capital & Centric PLC were involved in talks to take advantage of a “tax incentive mechanism” which would make the deal viable – although the window of opportunity was due to close in March 2013.
But with just three months to go, a deal has been agreed and a planning application is being drawn up.
Neil Pickering, director at the HCA, said: “We’ve taken our time to discuss this with Capital & Centric and for several months have been carefully looking at their plans.
“The scheme is quite sensible in that it’s about adapting and refurbishing rather than an enormous plan to redevelop internal areas and just safeguard the facade.
“So it’s a very practical and cost effective approach.” Several previous proposals – including one to demolish a major section of the building and build apartments on the site – failed to get off the ground.
Since the site is not listed by English Heritage and therefore not protected, if a buyer sympathetic to retaining this key piece of Liverpool’s history had not been not found, there was a very real prospect it could have faced the wrecking ball.