Plans to create a world class exhibition centre and hotel in Liverpool - propelling the city into the premier league for hosting large scale trade and consumer exhibitions - have been given the green light.
It's all systems go for the new £40m Exhibition Centre Liverpool and £26m integrated hotel at Kings Dock, after the ambitious plans were approved by the city's planning committee today (Tuesday 23 July).
It paves the way for work beginning, in late autumn, on the construction of the 8,100m2, three-hall exhibition centre and the 200-room ‘headquarters' hotel, which will form part of ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena.
The new facilities will open in Autumn 2015.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "This is fantastic news for Liverpool. I've pushed this project hard from the beginning, because I know the huge economic benefits it will bring to our city, attracting new visitors, boosting local business and creating jobs.
"This decision from the planning committee means we can now press ahead with delivering an absolutely world class waterfront development.
"Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the integrated hotel will allow us to build on the massive success of ACC Liverpool, and will drive our transformation into one of Europe's leading destinations for large-scale conferences, exhibitions and events.
"It's a huge boost for our city and yet more evidence that despite the recession, we continue to forge ahead with delivering important regeneration schemes. I'm looking forward to construction getting underway."
Exhibition Centre Liverpool will be capable of hosting large scale conferences, trade and consumer exhibitions, concerts and sports events on a national and international scale. Plans for the facility include an atrium, meeting rooms and a business centre. The three halls will each be 2,700m2 and will be separated by movable walls.
Pullman will be the brand for the integrated, upscale, four-star hotel, which will include up to 10,500m2 of floor space and seven storeys of rooms, above a ground floor reception, lobby, restaurant, bar, meeting rooms and gym.
Pullman, which is owned by international hotel company Accor, has hotels all over the world, including all the major European cities, but currently only one in the UK, in St Pancras, London. Branded Hotel Management (BHM) was appointed as hotel operator in April this year.
Bob Prattey, chief executive of ACC Liverpool, said: "Receiving planning permission for Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the headquarters hotel is another significant milestone in Liverpool's development. ACC Liverpool has already generated more than £620m in economic impact since opening in 2008. This project is further proof that the city means business when it comes to competing with European destinations in hosting major conferences and exhibitions.
"Today's approval is the culmination of more than two years of extensive planning and we are eager to move onto the next phase of the project and the continued progression of the city."
Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the integrated hotel will be directly connected to the existing facilities at ACC Liverpool, via an interlinking bridge, making the venue the only purpose-built interconnected arena, convention and exhibition centre in Europe.
In its first year of operation, Exhibition Centre Liverpool is expected to host about 50 events and attract more than 250,000 visitors.
It is estimated that the exhibition and event programme will support 1,300 jobs in the wider economy and contribute in the region of £40 million per year in economic benefit to the Merseyside area. The hotel is expected to create about 45 to 60 permanent jobs.