From Littlewoods to Life Sciences: How crucial development is enabling Liverpool City Region’s key growth sectors to thrive

14th March 2024


By: Stephen Cowperthwaite, Managing Director, Regions & Liverpool at Avison Young UK and Chair of the Liverpool Place Partnership

A city long celebrated for its maritime heritage and musical legacy, Liverpool, in recent years, has been building a new reputation as a centre for creative, digital, and knowledge-led innovation.

Stephen Cowperthwaite, Managing Director, Regions & Liverpool at Avison Young UK

Stephen Cowperthwaite, Managing Director, Regions & Liverpool at Avison Young UK

The city region is home to a number of burgeoning hotspots, including Sci-Tech Daresbury in Halton, along with critical regeneration projects, like the redevelopment of the Littlewoods building, which appears set to supercharge the region’s creative and digital economy. With recent news that Liverpool City Region’s Life Science Investment Zone is about to receive a substantial boost in funding, the development of these sectors will undoubtedly continue to surge.

As also highlighted in Avison Young’s recent Outlook Report, the creative and digital industries in Liverpool are on the brink of considerable expansion – with an expected growth rate of 10% in the next five years. Liverpool’s science and technology sector is also set to expand by 8% over the same period.

This sharp growth trajectory has been bolstered by wide-ranging activity taking place across the region. From the Baltic Triangle to the Knowledge Quarter, which includes the Paddington Village regeneration scheme, the growth of these critical sectors is testament to the power of public and private sector partnerships in driving forward city region renewal.

But these collaborative projects aren’t just about elevating the region as a destination for business – they’re also examples of how concerted, strategic efforts over a number of years have enabled the region to position itself as a place for innovation, fuelling technological progress and creating jobs for the future.

The Littlewoods Project Artist Impression : Credit Capital & Centric

The Littlewoods Project Artist Impression : Credit Capital & Centric

Life sciences set to create impact

In a bold move set to redefine Liverpool’s position on the global health and life sciences stage, the Liverpool City Region’s Life Science Investment Zone is receiving a substantial boost, with funding doubled to £160 million and benefits extended from five to ten years. This strategic enhancement underpins the city region’s commitment to nurturing innovation within the thriving life sciences sector, positioning Liverpool as a hub of commercial growth and regeneration.

The Investment Zone was launched on Tuesday 12th March at MIPIM. It promises to catalyse the creation of over 4,000 new jobs by 2030, effectively doubling employment opportunities within the sector. This initiative not only highlights Liverpool’s ambition to solidify its standing as a leading hub for life sciences, but also signals the potential to attract at least £320 million of direct private investment during its initial five-year phase.

The University of Liverpool’s commitment to invest £200 million into the Investment Zone over the next decade, focusing on Health and Life Science Campus developments, further amplifies the city’s capacity for world-leading innovation and skills-based job creation. This concerted effort between public and private stakeholders exemplifies a shared vision for leveraging Liverpool’s unique assets to foster economic growth and societal advancement.

The establishment of the Life Science Investment Zone marks a key chapter in Liverpool’s economic and social narrative, promising to extend its influence far beyond the immediate sector. By providing a fertile ground for the incubation and acceleration of small and medium-sized enterprises within the life sciences sector, this initiative is poised to push Liverpool City Region further into the forefront of global innovation.

The zone’s focus on leveraging significant private sector investment will not only boost the local economy but also ensure the provision of high-quality, skilled job opportunities for the region’s residents. In alignment with Liverpool’s broader strategy to drive innovation across high-growth sectors, the Life Science Investment Zone stands as a testament to the city’s forward-thinking approach. It represents a vision where the intersection of government support, private investment, and academic excellence can collectively uplift communities, transforming Liverpool into a model of sustainable urban regeneration and a potential powerhouse of the life sciences industry.

Baltic Creative image: Credit - Matt Bell Photography

Baltic Creative image: Credit – Matt Bell Photography

Creating a new hub of creative excellence

When we look to the immediate future, the restoration of Liverpool’s iconic Littlewoods building on Edge Lane is also set to be the major catalyst for big change in the local real estate market.

With Avison Young joining the project to head up the complex planning consultation process, this ambitious redevelopment marks a major milestone in repurposing a historic site that has stood empty for decades. With an investment of over £8 million secured to kickstart the redevelopment, this project has ambitions of resurrecting the historic building and adapting it for modern use as a specialist TV and film studio.

The trickle-down effects of such a project brings many welcome growth projections for the city across key fronts. The transformation is expected to create around 280 construction jobs during the redevelopment phase and nearly 700 permanent jobs upon completion, highlighting its potential to significantly boost local employment and economic activity.

With a projected gross economic impact of £57.8 million annually, the project is set to further boost Liverpool’s appeal as a destination for the creative industries – potentially replicating the “clustering” effect we’ve already seen in Greater Manchester, where the arrival of major media players, such as the BBC, has contributed to a 30% increase in creative sector employment​​.

This demand is set to stimulate new residential developments, increase property values, and encourage further investment in local infrastructure and amenities, bringing a much-needed boost to the vibrancy and growth of the Edge Lane area and beyond.

New development creates new opportunities for growth

As Liverpool continues its transformative journey, it seems that, for the moment, the booming digital, life sciences, and knowledge sectors are the hands steering the ship. With critical development and infrastructure work taking place, including a proposed new railway station at Sci-Tech Daresbury with the potential to support the creation of 8,000 jobs at the innovation campus, the region is on a clear path of growth – one which is being directly enabled by public-private sector collaboration.

From Littlewoods to Life Sciences, our region is brimming with potential – and with crucial developments picking up the pace, Liverpool’s future looks exceptionally bright, placing us on national and international stages and spotlighting our excellence in creative, digital and knowledge-led innovation.

For more information about Liverpool City Region’s property opportunities click HERE.

For more information about Liverpool City Region at MIPIM 2024, and to download our programme click HERE.

For more information about investing in Liverpool City Region click HERE.

For more information about the Liverpool Place Partnership click HERE.

14th March 2024