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Liverpool opens final chapter in regeneration of Kings Dock

The final chapter for one of the UK’s great urban regeneration success stories has begun with the appointment of a team to market 7.6 acres of prime waterfront land.

Liverpool City Council has procured Faithful+Gould as Development Manager, and BDP, as Architect, to lead on the design process for the future development of seven plots on Kings Dock, all of which adjoin the award-winning ACC Liverpool complex.

The appointment comes 15 years after the M&S Bank Arena opened on the dock to officially launch Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture. The venue has gone on to scoop numerous awards as an exemplar for brownfield regeneration.

As well as the 11,000-seat capacity arena, which is set to host Eurovision 2023 in May, Kings Dock now also hosts a convention centre – which includes a 1,350-seat conference auditorium – and the 8,100 sqm Exhibition Centre Liverpool, as well as a 1,450 space multi-storey car park, central public plaza, 1,800 residential housing units, and two 3-star plus hotels, along with the 4-star luxury Pullman Liverpool Hotel.

The masterplan has been made possible thanks to a £1 million loan from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which will be repaid from proceeds arising from the King’s Dock site sales.

Liverpool City Council has now set a brief for the team to follow these schemes by outlining a residential-led, mixed-use development of international standard in design and sustainability, with the potential for a major cultural and/or leisure venue.

As part of a two-year process, the Kings Dock Development Team will undertake investigations and review all existing surveys of the site, which includes the former car park which was demolished after a fire on New Year’s Eve in 2017.

The team will also be asked to create a masterplan and development programme, undertake extensive consultations with the local community and stakeholders before looking to secure outline planning permission, as well as marketing the opportunity to the highest quality and most aligned investors.

The City Council’s brief also requires the creation of a design code centred around an ecosystem-based approach which respects the heritage of the Dock, increases the overall biodiversity connectivity, and inclusivity of the waterfront.

The masterplan and development will be in accordance with the council’s social value policy to deliver best value for the tax payer.

Kings Dock – The Final Chapter: The Process

There are four key stages to the development of the final development sites at Kings Dock:

  1. Procurement – to secure the relevant experts to act for the City Council.
  2. Master planning and development planning – to secure the relevant permissions.
  3. Disposals on the open market based on the outline plans approved by the Local Planning Authority (LPA).
  4. The development of planned sites by carefully selected developers.

Councillor Sarah Doyle, Cabinet Member for Development and Economy, said:

“This site marks the final chapter in the regeneration of the King’s Dock site and as such is a unique opportunity for Liverpool to create a world-leading waterfront development, rooted in quality and defined by sustainability.

“The regeneration of Kings Dock over the past 15 years has been of the UK’s great urban success stories and the creation of the ACC Liverpool complex has generated billions of pounds for the city’s economy and showcased Liverpool to the world, be it the MTV Music Europe Awards in 2008, to Eurovision this May.

“I’m delighted we’ve appointed such a talented and experienced team to deliver this first phase in this development. There is a huge amount of work to be done and it needs to be carefully plotted out with the full engagement of local residents and stakeholders.

“The next two years will define the rest of the century for this site – and we need to ensure any scheme that comes forward is environmentally, socially and economically viable. Given the success to date of Kings Dock, the bar is already very high to deliver something truly significant, that will sustain our economy and environment for decades to come and it marks the start of a new chapter in brownfield regeneration.”

Peter Jackson, North West Head of Property at Faithful+Gould said:

“This is such an important development for the city of Liverpool and wider North West region as this final stage will deliver on multiple fronts for residents living and working here.

“At Faithful+Gould we are passionate about projects that deliver real social value on the ground and the Kings Dock regeneration has social value at its core. We will also be drawing on our wide-ranging expertise in development management to support the client’s ambitions and ensure sustainability is locked in at every stage.”

Mark Braund, Architect Director and head of BDP’s Liverpool Studio said:

“This is one of the best sites along the waterfront of Liverpool, it offers huge potential to the city and the wider region.

“The Kings Dock is a place that has a diverse context, from performance venue to historic docks, residential neighbourhoods and creative districts. We feel proud to be helping Liverpool shape the vision and masterplan and we are looking forward to engaging with the community over the coming months to help shape the future of the site.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“There’s a reason that hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Liverpool’s waterfront every year – because there’s nowhere else that can match its diverse mix of culture, entertainment and leisure experiences. Even though it’s already a massive contributor to our region’s visitor economy, the council’s ambition for the future of King’s Dock is testament to the strong recovery the city’s tourism sector has made in the wake of the pandemic and associated lockdowns.

“We know that a strong city is vital for a strong city region – which is why we’re investing £1m to support the regeneration of King’s Dock, helping to create new jobs, new training opportunities and, hopefully, to act as a catalyst for further investment in the area. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this final chapter in the transformation of King’s Dock is brought to life.

“Liverpool’s waterfront is already one of our region’s most iconic landmarks – and the council’s ambitious plans to expand King’s Dock are testament to the strong appetite and growth the city is seeing in its recovery. It’s why we’ve invested £1m into its expansion, to ensure that it can continue to grow, create new jobs and strengthen our economy, hopefully acting as a catalyst for further investment in the area. I can’t wait to see the masterplan take shape – to see the next chapter in this area’s story.”