Liverpool to build new Waterfront Exhibition and Events Complex
A state-of-the-art exhibition and events complex is to be built on the Liverpool waterfront, creating hundreds of jobs and delivering a shot in the arm to the city’s economy.
The new venue is set to be built by a partnership of Liverpool City Council and ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena. The facility, which will be adjacent to ACC Liverpool on the Kings Dock, will cost in the region of £40m and be open for business in September 2014.
In its first year of operation, it is expected to host about 50 events and attract some 250,000 visitors. It is estimated that the exhibition and event programme will support 1,300 jobs in the wider economy and contribute an estimated £40m per year to the city region.
Announcing the news, Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson said: “This is great news for the city. It’s a really exciting project which will deliver a major boost to the city’s economy, creating hundreds of jobs and attracting thousands of new visitors every year. This investment is a significant milestone in the ongoing renaissance of Liverpool which will benefit everyone in the city for decades to come.
“It is a huge statement of confidence in Liverpool, and will be a boost to hundreds of local businesses. A new state-of-the-art exhibition hall will enhance the excellent waterfront facilities of the Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre – making Liverpool a top UK venue for exhibitions, events and conferences.”
David McDonnell, chairman of ACC Liverpool, added: “The feasibility work we have undertaken demonstrates that this development will be self-funding and will begin to attract millions of pounds of new business to the city as soon as it opens.”
Bob Prattey, chief executive of ACC Liverpool, said: “We have already proved that Liverpool is an attractive and compelling destination for conference and exhibition organisers. The new venue will enable us to build market share and to attract even larger and more lucrative events, helping to fill the city’s hotels, restaurants and shops with high-spending visitors.”
Plans include a sky bridge to connect it to the existing facility, making ACC Liverpool the only purpose built interconnected arena, convention centre and exhibition facility in the UK. Funding for the development is set to be raised through borrowing, supported directly from the revenue generated by the centre, so that the development will be at zero cost to tax-payers.
A 200-bed four or five-star hotel is included in the development plans but will be funded separately through the private sector. The 8,100m2 exhibition centre will be wholly owned by Liverpool City Council but will be managed by the existing ACC Liverpool management team. It will be used to stage both trade and consumer exhibitions, as well as large scale national and international conferences with attached exhibitions, large scale banquets and concerts for up to 10,000 people standing.
A planning application is likely to be submitted in March 2012, with work on-site likely to start in early 2013. Neighbouring businesses and residents will be consulted in advance of the application being made. Approximately 150 people would be employed during construction, with an estimated further 1,300 jobs supported by the exhibition and events programme once the complex is open.
Mr Prattey added: “ACC Liverpool has created significant employment in the North West region with an associated economic impact estimated at over £400m since opening in January 2008. This encouraged us to investigate options for expansion of our facilities to widen the venue’s scope, accommodate client growth and thereby attract additional business and revenue.
“This investment will enable us to grow business across a number of markets including stand alone exhibitions, large scale conferences and banqueting, standing concerts and sporting events. It will also enable the BT Convention centre to stage conferences which have a major exhibition element. We will now begin detailed planning on the design and construction of the venue. We want to create something which will be a fitting addition to our fantastic waterfront and not only matches the stunning design of ACC Liverpool but also the green credentials and sustainable approach that we are renowned for in the events industry. We want this to be the most sustainable purpose-built exhibition facility in Europe.”
Nick Kavanagh, Liverpool City Council’s Director of Regeneration, said: “This new development will further enhance and grow the city’s reputation as a destination for major events. It will not only create jobs, but also provide a further shot in the arm for the city’s retail and leisure sector including shops, restaurants, bars and hotels.”
The investment has been welcomed by business leaders in the city. Robert Nadler, chief executive of Liverpool’s newest hotel, the 106-bed base2stayin Seel Street, and a member of The Mersey Partnership’s visitor economy committee, said: “Business tourism is a key driver of the region’s economy and this development will mean thousands more midweek visitors coming to Liverpool every year. It’s great news for the city.”
Jack Stopforth, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, added: “The new complex will make a huge contribution to the midweek visitor economy and its development sends a very strong message about our confidence in the city’s offer.”
Frank McKenna, chairman of Downtown Liverpool in Business, said: “It is encouraging to see the city making bold investment decisions. The new complex will see our world famous waterfront becoming one of the most significant events destinations in Europe, bringing huge benefit to the city.”