Architect in talks to resurrect shelved Cloud design as centrepiece of £500m development in Birkenhead
Will Alsop is set to revive his aborted design for the Fourth Grace in Liverpool on a site on the other side of the Mersey.
The architect is meeting with developers in the next few weeks to discuss using the Cloud design as the centrepiece of a £500m development in Birkenhead in the Wirral.
Development consortium Reddington Finance has commissioned architect Carey Jones to draw up a masterplan for the 140-acre site of the former Cammell Laird ship works site, and wants Alsop’s design to provide a landmark public realm space, probably in the form of a museum.
The plan would be a slap in the face to the Liverpool authorities, which threw out Alsop’s £228m scheme last July on the grounds that it would cost too much and take too long to build.
Any waterfront scheme at the Cammell Laird site would be visible from the original Fourth Grace site.
Mike Ryder, property director of Reddington Finance, said he was in contact with Alsop, who he said was interested in the scheme.
He said: “The discussions we’re having are to use the design for the Fourth Grace for a public realm space. The overall scheme is for a mixed-use development with office blocks, residential and retail, and we want to try to link it to Birkenhead town centre.”
Ryder added that Reddington’s plans for the site included an indoor ski slope, as well as hundreds of residential units. The projected site for Alsop’s Cloud is a three-acre stretch of land by the waterfront.
Any scheme at Cammell Laird would be visible from the original Fourth Grace site
The original selection of the Cloud designs for the Fourth Grace aroused controversy when they came last out of four shortlisted designs in a public consultation.
The projected cost of the development then rose to £324m from the original forecast of £228m, which would have meant extra flats would have had to be built to make the project economically viable.
The Liverpool authorities also feared that a public inquiry could stop the scheme being ready for the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations.
The first stage in the process to come up with a new plan for the original Fourth Grace site is now under way. National Museums Liverpool recently won a £5m grant from a combination of Objective One European funding and the North West Development Agency.
The money will enable Danish architect 3XNielsen to work up designs for a £65m museum on the site. Plans for a winter garden on the site are also progressing.
Will Alsop was not available for comment.