Mr Kenwright’s Signature Living aims to turn the iconic Grade II-listed building on the waterfront into the ‘most special and stunning luxury weddings and events space in Liverpool’. Tony McDonough reports.
Liverpool property developer and hotelier Lawrence Kenwright says he hopes to have a deal to acquire the lease for the ground floor of the city’s iconic Cunard Building wrapped up “imminently”.
It was revealed earlier this month at the MIPIM property expo in Cannes that Mr Lawrence’s Signature Living was looking to strike a deal at the site, one of the waterfront Three Graces.
Cunard Building, once the global headquarters of Cunard Line, is Grade II-listed and was bought by Liverpool City Council from the Merseyside Pension Fund in 2013 for £10.4m.
The authority spent a further £3m refurbishing it and now uses it as its main headquarters where elected Mayor Joe Anderson is based.
At the last valuation the building was deemed to be worth more than £27m and brings in £1.3m in revenue a year.
Signature Living, which already owns and operates the 30 James Street and Shankly Hotels, has shared proposals for how they will make the ground floor space the “most special and stunning luxury weddings and events space in Liverpool”.
The company’s plans also include a fine dining restaurant for the site.
Weddings are a major part of Signature Living and the company already host thousands of couples’ special days at 30 James Street, the Shankly Hotel and have bookings for Cardiff Bay’s Exchange Hotel which opens at the end of April.
The events space would host up to 1,000 people and will be complete with the building’s naturally beautiful high ceilings and huge windows allowing an abundance of natural light.
Mr Kenwright said: “Acquiring the lease for the ground floor of Cunard Building is the ideal next step for Signature and the wedding and events aspect of the company.
“There would be no better or more luxurious weddings venue in Liverpool; with truly breath-taking views and the illustrious history of the building.
“I’m certain anyone would love to get married there. We are excited to be moving forward with these plans and hope to complete the deal imminently.”
Cunard Building was designed by William Edward Willink and Philip Coldwell Thicknesse and was constructed between 1914 and 1917.
Its style is a mix of Italian Renaissance and Greek Revival, and its development has been particularly influenced by Italian palace design. The building is noted for the ornate sculptures that adorn its sides.
It was constructed as the headquarters for Cunard and it was the company’s home until the 1960s and also housed passenger facilities for the trans-Atlantic cruises that once departed from Liverpool.