A joint venture between Wirral Council and Muse Developments secured consent for the 150,000 sq ft project in September and now Canada Life has agreed to fund it to the tune of £75m. Tony McDonough reports
Institutional investor Canada Life Asset Management has agreed to fund the £75m construction of two grade A office buildings in Birkenhead town centre.
In September Wirral Growth Company, a joint venture between Wirral Council and Muse Developments, secured planning permission for the two buildings which will offer a total of 150,000 sq ft of grade A office space.
One of the blocks, comprising 90,000 sq ft will house 800 Wirral Council workers and the 60,000 sq ft of space in the other block will be made available to the local market. They form part of a major regeneration of Birkenhead town centre planned for the next couple of years.
Other plans for the town, supported by £50m from the £50m from the Town Deal and Future High Street Fund, include a new market, leisure, food and drink, alongside event spaces and public realm. New homes will also be built.
With funding now in place, work will soon start on site on the land formerly occupied by Milton Pavements in the town centre.
Mike Horner, development director at Muse Developments and director of Wirral Growth Company, said: “This funding is a significant step in the regeneration of Birkenhead town centre and is a huge vote of confidence in what we are doing.
“We are now embarking on a transformational change over the next few years as we deliver our exciting plans which have local businesses and residents at their heart.
“Muse Developments’ successful track record in delivering place changing urban regeneration in towns and cities across the UK was key in enabling us to secure this investment on behalf of Wirral Growth Company.
“By having a high-profile fund such as Canada Life on board, it is not only driving inward investment into Wirral, which is a promise we made at the beginning of this project, but it also demonstrates the strength and potential of what we’re creating here.”
It will mean Birkenhead is stealing a march on Liverpool city centre’s commercial district which is suffering through a lack of grade A space. There is still a question mark over the Pall Mall development after telecommunications giant BT put a pre-let on hold.
The new office space will add to the 25,000 sq ft Hythe office building, currently under construction at Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, just a few minutes from Birkenhead town centre. Wirral Waters is also seeing the construction of hundreds of new homes.
Michael White, head of UK property at Canada Life Asset Management, added: “We are thrilled to be backing this development which forms part of Birkenhead’s wider regeneration plans. These two office spaces will provide the Wirral with gold standard, modern workspaces which meet the highest standards of energy efficiency.”
Wirral Growth Company was advised by Savills and CBRE advised Canada Life Asset Management.