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Topping out at ACL’s new Duke Street HQ


Network Space, the North West based commercial real estate investment, development and management group has celebrated the topping out of its award winning development of a new headquarters for Atlantic Container Lines (ACL) on Liverpool’s Duke Street.

Main contractor Wates Construction started on the steel framed building in November 2014 and has now reached the highest point of the building at 18.2 metres above street level.

Designed by DLA Design, the building will become the city’s first purpose-built shipping HQ since the development of the Grade II* listed India Buildings in 1924.

The 62,000 sq ft BREEAM Excellent Grade A office building is configured over four-storeys, with a design that adopts Georgian proportions to complement the existing street scene whilst providing a contemporary and distinctive façade.

A Grimaldi Group Company, ACL’s 160 staff are currently based at Princes Dock but will move into the new HQ in 2016 following significant staff growth in recent years. 

Network Space’s Managing Director (Development), Stephen Barnes, said: “After years of collaboration to bring this together, it is very satisfying to reach this stage of the development and finally see our plans become a reality.

“ACL’s commitment to this project and to this part of the City is crucial to the ongoing regeneration of the RopeWalks area.  We are delighted to have been able to conceive and deliver such an important development.”

Ian Higby, ACL’s UK Managing Director, said: “We have reached a very important milestone not just in the construction of this fine building but also in the continuing commitment of ACL to Liverpool, the City and the Port.  We have nearly doubled our staff numbers over the last couple of years through centralisation and we expect further growth when our new fourth generation fleet comes into service in the autumn.”

Tony Shenton, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction, North West, said: “It gives us great pride to be delivering a project that will not only help to rejuvenate one of Liverpool’s conservation areas but will also provide exceptional office premises for one the city’s business leaders. The project marks an increase in investment in the city’s commercial property sector. It is therefore not only a significant investment for Network Space and ACL, but also a foundation to support further growth and development for the city of Liverpool.”

The project 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. The building was recently recognised by the Manchester Society of Architects winning the Best Commercial Building category at its annual MA Awards.

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