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Langtree appoint Wates Construction to build new city centre home for ACL


Work has started on the first purpose-built shipping company headquarters in Liverpool for almost a century.

The new home for Liverpool shipping giant Atlantic Container Lines (ACL), a Grimaldi Group Company,  on Duke Street in the city, will be the city’s first purpose-built shipping HQ since the development of the Grade II* listed India Buildings in 1924.

The development is being brought forward by property company and regeneration specialist Langtree, which has appointed Wates Construction as contractor.

Langtree has developed in excess of 300,000 sq ft of commercial, industrial and office space across eight separate projects in Liverpool in recent years. With a development cost in the tens of millions, these developments provide accommodation for scores of local businesses and deliver a major benefit in business rates to the city each year.

The chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, Robert Hough, described the project, which has been supported with £2.82m ERDF grants and £1.38m Chrysalis funding, as a signal of growing confidence in the city’s maritime sector.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said it was a historic development which underlined the continuing commitment to the city’s regeneration.

ACL’s 160 staff are currently based at Princes Dock but will move into the new Grade A 62,000 sq ft HQ at 86-90 Duke Street in 2016 following significant staff growth in recent years. 

Ian Higby, ACL’s UK managing director, said: “We have been growing for some years and the time is right to develop our own HQ in the city. We have created around 50 new jobs this year alone and this new building will give us the space to grow further.

“We are centralising a lot of activity in Liverpool. We have brought work here from North America and Europe, and there is no doubt Liverpool is a great city for maritime.  Langtree has been enormously helpful in facilitating our move, and we’re also very grateful for the support we’ve received from the City, the LEP and from the Regional Growth Fund.

“The building will provide superb accommodation for the business and sends a clear message regarding our commitment to our staff and to Liverpool.  We will also be seeking occupiers for the balance of the space and are confident that there will be strong interest to take this up.”

The distinctive four-storey building, which has a BREEAM Excellent rating, has been designed by DLA Architects and will complement the existing street scene while providing a modern and distinctive façade.

Langtree’s Development Director, Stephen Barnes, said: “This development is the culmination of many years spent working with partners to secure the regeneration of a site which has been blighted for decades.

“It is yet another successful project in Liverpool, where we have successfully invested millions of pounds in recent years to aid the city’s regeneration.  As the economy continues to improve, we hope to invest much more.

“ACL is a hugely important international business and local employer and the scheme represents an important phase in the ongoing transformation of the Ropewalks area. It will have a hugely positive physical and economic impact on the neighbourhood.

“We have worked closely with the City Council, the Mayor, the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, DCLG and the Homes & Communities Agency who have all been instrumental in ensuring that this scheme can come forward.”

LEP Chair Robert Hough said: “The maritime sector is of huge strategic importance to the city region and this development sends a signal of both confidence and capability to that sector. We are gathering momentum in our efforts to position Liverpool City Region as a centre of maritime expertise.”

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson added: “This is brilliant news for Liverpool not just because it cements our reputation as a maritime service centre but also because it brings back into use a key city centre site. That Langtree is developing a new building specifically for a shipping company is historic.”

The ACL HQ will occupy the corner site at the junction of Duke Street, Suffolk Street and Henry Street in the city’s Ropewalks district. Construction is expected to start this month.

ACL was advised by DTZ and Langtree was advised by Stratos PDI.

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