- £53m Chrysalis Fund supports 13 projects, delivering over 1m square feet of employment floor space
- 19 hectares of previously developed land remediated
- Loans set to be repaid in full, with £3.9m of profits generated from interest payments
- Money reinvested in projects to further drive the city region economy and create more jobs
- Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We are investing in high-tech, sustainable office and laboratory space that will allow our industries to reach their full potential – and create more secure, high quality local jobs along the way.”
A loan fund run on behalf of Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has secured nearly 4,000 jobs – and is being reinvested to help grow the economy and create more jobs.
Since its creation in 2011, the Chrysalis Fund has invested around £53m across 13 projects, creating or safeguarding nearly 4,000 jobs, developing 1m square feet of quality employment floor space, and remediating 19 hectares of previously developed land.
Twelve of the 13 loans have been repaid in full, with the final loan on track to repay by 2026 – allowing the money to be reinvested in more urban regeneration projects to drive the economy.
High-profile Chrysalis-funded projects include:
- Duke and Parr, the redevelopment of one of Liverpool’s most historic buildings, home to the city’s first public library on Duke Street, and now let to a multinational entertainment company.
- Project Violet, a new build 42,000 sq. ft. extension to Sci-Tech Daresbury’s national science and innovation campus.
- Watson Building, the redevelopment of part of the former Lewis’s Department store to create 75,019 sq. ft. of grade A refurbished office space behind a Grade II listed frontage.
- Venus 217, a major new build distribution facility comprising 217,000 sq. ft. which represented the City Region’s largest speculative unit to be developed for more than a decade.
- Mersey Reach, development of five industrial units totalling 114,000 sq. ft., a petrol filling station and a drive thru coffee shop in 3 phases on Dunnings Bridge Road, Sefton.
The Combined Authority has recently allocated an additional £17.5m to the Fund to create a £53m revolving investment fund, to bolster the Fund’s ability to grow the city region economy.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“Across our area, we’ve invested in transformational developments that are befitting of a modern, forward-looking city region like ours. With world-leading industry clusters in infectious disease control, materials chemistry and AI all on our doorstep, we are already home to a thriving innovation economy. But, in order to keep it growing, it’s vital that we are investing in high-tech, sustainable office and laboratory space that will allow our industries to reach their full potential – and create more secure, high quality local jobs along the way.”
The Chrysalis Fund has already returned a total of £3.9m in profits to the Combined Authority to date. These profits have been used for:
- The LCR Cares Programme which raised and distributed over £2.5 million to hundreds of organisations across the region, helping more than 250,000 people during the pandemic. LCR Cares was supported by a £1.6m return from the Chrysalis Fund.
- A near half-a-million-pound grant fund to help community projects and groups across the Liverpool City Region. Under the innovative grant scheme, voluntary and community organisations could apply for funding to support initiatives meeting key pillars of the region’s economic recovery plan. These key pillars included mental health and wellbeing, community wealth building and digital inclusion as well as providing support for volunteer management. The grant fund was made possible by profits returned by the Chrysalis Fund.
- Earlier this year the Chrysalis fund was able to add £3m to the Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund revenue budget. These profits will be used to fund strategically important economic development projects in the city region.
At its current scale, the Chrysalis Fund is forecast to produce an annual profit surplus of c.£400,000 going forward.
There is still funding available from the Chrysalis Fund, and from the Combined Authority’s other urban regeneration loan fund, the LCR Urban Development Fund to eligible projects.
The Chrysalis Fund was set up in 2012 with £35m from the European Regional Development Fund programme. In October 2022, the Combined Authority approved the allocation of £17.5m of Growing Places Funding into Chrysalis to establish a £53m revolving fund. This process is nearly complete and will enable Chrysalis to address some of the projects on its short-term pipeline, which include Pall Mall in Liverpool, Parkside in St Helens, and Project Violet Phase 2 at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Halton.
Pall Mall is a £200m development scheme in the heart of Liverpool’s commercial district, that will deliver 400,000 sq. ft of new Grade A office space, a 280-bedroom hotel, associated retail and leisure amenities, as well as green space and public realm.
Parkside in St Helens is the largest strategic employment site in the City Region and one of the Liverpool City Region Freeport’s tax sites. Set to be developed over two phases, the site is expected to create around 3,000 jobs.
Phase 2 of Project Violet will see a further expansion of the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus, that will create a further 80,000 sq. ft of office and laboratory space and around 300 new jobs.
Since 2012, Chrysalis has made 13 commercial and industrial property loans. Of those, 12 have been fully repaid. One remains active, (Project Violet) and continues to perform.
Councillor Mike Wharton, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Business, said:
“The Chrysalis Fund has been a huge success story for the city region and an exemplar of how public sector funding can unlock commercial projects, creating jobs and prosperity. The fact that the money is then recouped with interest means it can continue to drive further economic development in the future. It’s a virtuous cycle.”
Robert Wood, Chrysalis Fund Manager for igloo Investment Management, which runs the Chrysalis Fund on behalf of the Combined Authority, said;
“The beauty of the Chrysalis fund is that it has proven successful in stimulating and delivering 1m sq. ft. of quality new employment floorspace in the City Region which would not have been financed by the traditional lending market. That is its very purpose. Chrysalis supports projects which other lenders will not. These developments have created new employment opportunities within the City Region but just as importantly, prevented the loss of existing employment via businesses relocating out of the City Region. The LCRCA get a commercial return on the loans, the projects give rise to new rates income for the Boroughs, and once any loan is repaid, we can recycle that money into supporting more projects. It’s a clear “win, win” for the City Region.”