In 2012, developers submitted plans to redevelop the Watson building, a Grade II listed building, on Renshaw Street in the heart of Liverpool city centre. As with all developments, substantial funds were required to do this.
In April 2014, the Chrysalis Fund approved a £5.6 million loan toward the £16.5 million redevelopment of the Watson building. The loan was provided to a syndicate of investors organised under the national Business Premises Renovation Allowance scheme, who are now redeveloping the vacant building, bringing it back to life and back into economic use. On completion, the building will be known as Watson House and will provide circa 80,000 sq ft of high quality, flexible and well-connected Grade A office space, built to BREEAM ‘Very Good’ standard.
Watson House adjoins the former Lewis’s department store which is also undergoing extensive refurbishment works to provide leisure and retail space, an Adagio Aparthotel and office accommodation as part of the wider Central Village masterplan, which has secured high profile tenants including Odeon Cinema and Frankie and Benny’s. So it’s a key part of the continuing regeneration of Liverpool city centre.
The Chrysalis Fund aims to invest where the market has limited capacity or appetite and in a way that attracts other sources of finance to invest. Projects like Watson House would not be possible without financial support from funds such as Chrysalis. Nevertheless, its close proximity to Lime Street Station, connection to the exciting Central Village regeneration scheme and flexible, striking space underlines its credentials to become a commercial success.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said of the project: “This investment will breathe new life into the Watson Building, creating high quality office space in the heart of our city, providing another dynamic link to Central Village and adding further momentum to our on-going work to regenerate the Lime Street gateway.”