Capital & Centric Plc has received planning approval to go ahead with its £19m plan to re-develop the iconic Littlewoods Pools Buildings off Edge Lane in Liverpool from its current state of dereliction, into a 104 bed hotel, 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m) of business units and 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m) of offices.
Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric Plc said:
“We’ve moved another step closer to getting underway with this challenging and complex project. These magnificent buildings have been vacant for over ten years, I’m excited by the thought of seeing them full of activity and life again.
“At one time these buildings were host to thousands of people, all processing data for the Littlewoods Pools business – it was a sort of human super computer. We want to bring that energy and life back to this part of Liverpool.”
About Capital & Centric
Capital & Centric Plc is one of the North West’s most active developers. With £30m of developments currently under construction, the company continues to target employment generating schemes as well as retail and mixed use developments. It has recently completed an 80,000 sq ft (7,432 sq m) business unit development at Estuary Commerce Park near Liverpool Airport and is currently building a 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m) business park in Speke, South Liverpool.
Littlewoods Pools Buildings
The current buildings total over 200,000 sq ft of space. Once complete there will be in excess of 250,000 sq ft of space. It is currently owned by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) – the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England, and the Regulator of Social Housing Providers – and the proposal is for Capital & Centric Plc to acquire it with a view to starting on site later this year.
The Littlewoods Building was completed in 1938, by Scottish Architect Gerald de Courcey Fraser, who also designed a number of fine department stores for Lewis’s and others. The South Lancashire ‘Pevsner’ guide describes it as being ‘in the same vein as the celebrated factories on the Great West Road in London… outdazzling any of the buildings put up on the contemporary industrial estates’. Sir John Moores, and his brother Cecil, built Littlewoods into the country’s largest family owned business empire, covering department chain stores and catalogue shopping, bequeathing a dynasty estimated at over £1bn. From working class Salford stock, the Moores family was renowned as generous benefactors associated with famous local and national causes. Liverpool John Moores University was renamed in his honour, and the Moores family controlled both Everton and Liverpool Football clubs during their 1970 and 80s glory years – Littlewoods actually sponsored the League cup for several years between 1986 and 1990. The John Moores painting prize is described as ‘the Oscar of the British painting world’ by Royal Academy curator sir Norman Rosenthal, and famously brought David Hockney to the world’s attention in the 1960s. The Littlewoods building’s vast, well lit internal spaces were enlisted in the national interest during WWII. At the outbreak of the war the building’s mighty printing presses were used to print 17 million National Registration forms in just three days. The floors of Halifax Bombers were assembled at the building, and it was also the nerve centre of MC5, the government agency that intercepted mail to break enemy codes. Bomb shelters in the basement areas still contain artwork and graffiti on the walls dating from the 1941 Wartime Blitz and ‘Battle of the Atlantic’, when parts of Liverpool, its rail yards and docklands suffered more bombs per square mile than even London’s East End.