Councillors block Liverpool office-to-resi project

Planning committee blocks multi-million pound plans to convert a Liverpool office building into apartments. Tony McDonough reports

Centric House
Centric House in Moorfields in Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough


A multi-million pound project to convert a Liverpool office building into an apartment complex blocked by the city’s planning committee.

Planning officers had recommended approval for the scheme to convert Centric House in Moorfields, which comprises 27,000 sq ft, into a complex containing 45 residential apartments.

However, at the planning committee meeting on Tuesday morning councillors voted 5-4 against the development. They were concerned about the lack of affordable units. The application will go back before the committee at a later date.

Centric House, which also faces onto Dale Street, had previously been occupied by Barclays Bank but it moved out of the property more than a decade ago.

Manchester-based CERT Property acquired the building in 2018, paying £3.3m. However, despite spending more than £200,000 to upgrade the office accommodation it struggled to attract tenants.

Since the acquisition the space has never achieved an occupancy above 15% and CERT has had to pay annual running costs of £192,000. 

In the central business district occupiers are seeking either Grade A or high quality secondary space. “Architectural constraints” made it a challenge to bring Centric House up to that standard.

Some occupiers may also have been put off by the location. Moorfields has deteriorated in recent years with derelict properties and Moorfields Merseyrail station in need to a facelift.

READ MORE: Developer unveils plans for former ‘Giro’ site in Bootle

CERT has decided to pivot to residential in order to extract some value from their investment. The residential scheme would include one and two-bedroom apartments and duplexes. LBN has contacted CERT for comment.

Another application for a multi-million pound residential development in the Baltic Triangle was withdrawn before the meeting. The scheme, by affordable housing provider Torus, will be deferred to the next committee in July.

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