Proposals by Capital & Centric come five years after fire at Art Deco landmark
Architect Shedkm and developer Capital & Centric have submitted proposals for the redevelopment of Liverpool’s Littlewoods building into a £70m TV and film studio campus, with new public space and an education offer.
The team was poised to lodge plans for a version of the scheme in 2018 but the timescale was hit by a fire in the west wing of the building, which was the home of Littlewoods Pools until 1994.
The football-betting operation made John Moores a millionaire and the company expanded into retail. Moores later served as chairman of Everton FC. Liverpool John Moores University is named in his honour.
Under the just-submitted plans the huge 1930s building on Edge Lane, two miles east of the city centre, will be restored and repurposed with a working clock reinstated on the tower and a new roof garden featuring spectacular views across the city.
Two 1,858 sq m studios for big-budget productions will be built on adjoining land, with new office space, education space, workshops, and studio-support facilities also part of the mix.
The Littlewoods building’s former canteen, housed in a barrel-vaulted hangar, will be converted into a multi-purpose screening and performance zone that will be for the use of occupiers on site during the day but will open up to the public out of hours.
The development team said the venue would feature five small-format cinema screens, an outdoor performance space and permanent food hall.
Shedkm director Mark Sidebotham said the Littlewoods proposals would allow a “much-loved but neglected icon” to play a key role in capitalising on Liverpool’s increasing reputation as a cultural hub.
Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram said the studios project would make the area the “Hollywood of the North”.
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is investing £17m in the Littlewoods building and the neighbouring The Depot project, which features smaller film studios.
Shedkm has a long association with the Littlewoods building and worked up residential conversion plans for both Urban Splash and Capital & Centric before the latest redevelopment proposals.
The project team includes structural engineer Arup, QS Arcadis and planning consultant Avison Young.