Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool changes hands in £40m deal – almost a year after it was put on the market with a near £50m price tag. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock has a new owner – almost a year after it was put on the market with a £49.25m price tag.
New joint owners are London developer and investor, General Projects, and Dubai investment management company, neo capital. They intend to invest further in the dock’s public realm and events.
In July 2022, CBRE Investment Management appointed London-based agency Joiner Cummings to find a buyer for the 375,295 sq ft mixed-use development.
Royal Albert Dock originally opened in 1846 and shortly before its 175th anniversary was given the title ‘Royal’ by the Queen.
It is made up of four Grade I-listed buildings – Britannia Pavilion, The Colonnades, Atlantic Pavilion and Edward Pavilion. By the early 1980s it had collapsed into dereliction. It was brought back to life by the Merseyside Development Corporation.
However, the dock was cut off from the city centre and ultimately floundered as a retail destination.
It wasn’t until the opening of the ACC Liverpool events and conference venue and the £1bn Liverpool ONE scheme in 2008 that the venue realised its true potential. It was reborn as a leisure destination offering bars, restaurants and museums.
There are more than 50 tenants at Royal Albert Dock. They generate an annual rental income of £3.6m. Around 30% of this revenue comes from two hotels – the Premier Inn and Holiday Inn.
As well as multiple food and drink operators the dock is also home to the Tate gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story. It also offers office space. Pre-pandemic visitor numbers annually exceeded 6m.
General Projects has a wide portfolio of properties. It owns the former Woolworths HQ in Marylebone, the historic Heal’s department store on Tottenham Court Road and the former Walworth Town Hall in Elephant & Castle.
Jacob Loftus, chief executive of General Projects, said: “We are truly honoured to have become custodians of one of our country’s most significant landmarks and one of its most magnificent examples of industrial heritage.
“Already one of the busiest leisure and cultural destinations in England, we hope to add our energy and creativity to further evolve the Dock into the most exciting experiential and authentic destination in the UK.
“We look forward to nurturing the many exciting independent businesses on site, working collaboratively with our cultural neighbours and further activating Liverpool’s amazing waterfront.”
Metis Real Estate advised General Projects on the acquisition.