HMRC move to India Buildings still on despite asbestos find

Legal & General acquired the Grade II-listed landmark in a record £125m deal in 2018 and HMRC are due to move in 3,500 staff starting in 2020. Tony McDonough reports

India Buildings
India Buildings is undergoing an extensive refurbishment

 

A plan to relocate thousands of tax workers to Liverpool’s India Buildings remains on track despite the discovery of asbestos, both the building’s owner and HMRC insist.

Legal & General (L&G), which acquired the Grade II-listed landmark in a record £125m deal in 2018 from Shelborn Asset Management, is currently refurbishing the site ahead of 3,500 HMRC staff moving in from next year. Shelborn will continue to manage the site.

On Tuesday it emerged that asbestos had been discovered in the Water Street building with one report suggesting the relocation plan was now in jeopardy. However, both L&G and HMRC said on Wednesday said the plan was still on track.

A spokesperson for L&G said: “There has been some delay to the building works due to asbestos being uncovered. However this is being resolved and the building is not due to be delivered until next year. Therefore the deal is still progressing as planned.”

And HMRC added: “We are aware of these latest developments and are continuing to work with the developer to understand the impacts and achieve a successful outcome. Our priority is to provide the workspaces our people deserve as part of our wider transformation.”

The deal that saw India Buildings change hands for £125m was a record for the sale of a single office building in Liverpool.

India Buildings was built between 1924 and 1932 as a speculative venture by shipping firm, Blue Funnel Line. Architects Arnold Thornely and Herbert J Rowse won a competition to design the site. It cost £1.25m – equivalent to around £85m today.

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