WORK on a world-class exhibition centre and hotel on Liverpool’s waterfront – which will form part of the city’s Arena and Convention Centre – is underway.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, visited the construction site of the £40m Exhibition Centre Liverpool and £26m integrated hotel at Kings Dock today (Monday 17 February). He was joined at the site by Bob Prattey, chief executive of ACC Liverpool; David McDonnell, chairman of ACC Liverpool; and Alan McCarthy-Wyper, managing director of ISG Construction, to see the scheme beginning to take shape.
It is a significant milestone in the city’s plans to become a leader in hosting large-scale trade and consumer exhibitions.
The 8,100 sqm, three-hall exhibition centre and the 216-room ‘headquarters’ hotel will form part of ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena.
The Exhibition Centre is being delivered at no cost to council taxpayers. Funding is raised through borrowing, paid for through income generated by the centre. This type of capital borrowing is similar to a mortgage and cannot be used to fund day-to-day services, but can be invested in developments which bring economic benefits. The city council is using this ‘invest to earn’ approach to drive forward new developments, with any surplus ploughed back into providing services.
With work now underway, the new facilities are expected to be open for business by summer 2015.
Exhibition Centre Liverpool will be capable of hosting large conferences, trade and consumer exhibitions, concerts and sports events on a national and international scale. Plans for the facility include an atrium, meeting rooms and a business centre. The three halls will each be 2,700 sqm and will be separated by movable walls.
Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the integrated hotel will be directly connected to the existing facilities at ACC Liverpool, via an interlinking bridge.
The initial phase of the building work will see the installation of piling and foundations to fix the building to the sandstone bedrock 20 metres underneath the site. An underground tunnel will be built during this stage to provide services to the hall floors. The next stage will see the start of the steelwork erected for the exhibition centre and the concrete frame for the hotel.
Archaeologists carried out excavations over the past six months and discovered sections of the dock wall from 1780. The foundations will be installed to retain some of these original features.
It is estimated that the exhibition and event programme will support 1,300 jobs in the wider economy and contribute in the region of £40 million per year in economic benefit to the Merseyside area.
Merseyside’s The Chrysalis Fund invested £8m into the Exhibition Centre scheme.