Developer Urban Splash converted a former tea warehouse in Liverpool into contemporary office space in 2000 and it was initially a hit – but it has had its ups and downs. Tony McDonough reports
In 2000 Manchester developer Urban Splash converted a neglected tea warehouse building in the Ropewalks district Liverpool city centre and created 64,000 sq ft of contemporary office space.
This was in the earlier days of Liverpool’s economic renaissance and good, modern office accommodation was in supply. The Tea Factory was a hit and attracted a number of up and coming businesses, such as design agency Liquid, the NHS and architecture organisation RIBA.
However, as Liverpool’s recovery gathered pace other developers followed Urban Splash’s lead and began creating quality space. By 2014 a number of tenants had reacted elsewhere and, at one point, the building was almost empty.
Since the building has undergone its own renaissance with refurbishment in 2019, overseen by local architects shedkm, leading to new tenants coming in. And two new deals, including 1,009 sq ft of space to water filtration company, Renewell Water UK and 2,976 sq ft of to Inside Marketing, mean the building is now fully let.
Urban Splash says the tenant mix now includes businesses large and small, from international companies to co-working freelancers. The building offers high speed fibre broadband new common and break out spaces, a meeting room, as well as high specification communal kitchens.
Urban Splash commercial manager, Nicky Harries, said: “Tea Factory was an early flagship project for us here in Liverpool, shortly followed by other award-winning office locations such as Matchworks in south Liverpool and neighbour, Vanilla Factory. We’re especially proud to have played such a huge role in the regeneration of Ropewalks.
“We’re really pleased with these recent lettings; they show that even two decades on, our Tea Factory still serves as a popular base for our local businesses. Thanks to its recent transformations and our flexible approach to leases, it continues to cater for the evolving needs of today’s business community.”