Project team starts work on Kings Dock masterplan

City council appoints project team to develop masterplan for 7.6-acre Kings Dock site on Liverpool waterfront after previous sale strategy was scrapped. Tony McDonough reports

Kings Dock
Kings Dock in Liverpool offers development opportunities on seven separate plots


Seven plots of prime development land on 7.6 acres of Liverpool waterfront will be sold for development – with the city council keeping a tight rein on what is built.

On Monday, Liverpool City Council unveiled its project team for the site which is located next to the ACC Liverpool arena and convention centre. That site, developed 15 years ago, also includes a multi-storey car park, public plaza, 1,800 homes and three hotels.

In 2017, the council took a 999-year lease on the remaining 7.6 acres of vacant land from Homes England. Two years later it paid just £1 for the freehold of the site and set about marketing it to developers.

It divided the land into seven different plots and instructed property consultancy CBRE to find buyers for the sites which ranged from 0.45 acres to 2.79 acres. It said they were ideal for leisure, hotel, residential and office use.

CBRE received 20 expressions of interest from investors and developers. The council whittled this down to a shortlist of eight with a view to selling them the plots and letting get on with bringing new schemes out of the ground.

However, this process was slowed by the pandemic. And in early 2021, the damning Max Caller report into the running of the authority was published and questions were raised about its relationships with developers.

In March 2022 the council announced that a new model would be used to develop the site. The council-appointed project team will decide on what will be built and they will then bring in developers as delivery partners only.

Project management consultancy Faithful+Gould has now been hired as development manager. Architects from BDP will lead on the design for each of the seven plots.

This has been made possible thanks to a £1m loan from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. It will be repaid from proceeds arising from the King’s Dock site sales.

Liverpool City Council has now set a brief for the team to follow these schemes by outlining a residential-led, mixed-use development. It also sees the potential for a major cultural and/or leisure venue.

Cllr Sarah Doyle, Cabinet Member for Development and Economy, said: “This site marks the final chapter in the regeneration of the King’s Dock site. It is a unique opportunity for Liverpool to create a world-leading waterfront development, rooted in quality and defined by sustainability.

“The regeneration of Kings Dock over the past 15 years has been one of the UK’s great urban success stories and the creation of the ACC Liverpool complex has generated billions of pounds for the city’s economy.”


ACC Liverpool
ACC Liverpool on the banks of the River Mersey was opened in 2008
Kings Dock
Project team starts work on Kings Dock


As part of a two-year process, the Kings Dock development team will undertake investigations and review all existing surveys of the site. This includes the former car park which was demolished after a fire on New Year’s Eve in 2017.

It will create a masterplan and development programme and undertake consultations with the local community and stakeholders. The team will then look to secure outline planning permission, as well as marketing the opportunity to investors.

Cllr Doyle added: “The next two years will define the rest of the century for this site. We need to ensure any scheme that comes forward is environmentally, socially and economically viable.”

Peter Jackson, North West head of property at Faithful+Gould, also said: “This is such an important development for the city of Liverpool and wider North West region as this final stage will deliver on multiple fronts for residents living and working here.”

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