As developer Elliot Group closes in on two key project completions, managing director Elliot Lawless has declared his intention to help Liverpool stake a claim as one of “Europe’s great urban playgrounds”.
Elliot is set to open the £20m Seel Street Hotel by EPIC in mid-November, while contractor Newry Group is reaching completion on the £44m Wolstenholme Square redevelopment, a project that will bring 470 homes and 12 leisure units to the city.
The star of November is to see a start on site at the £70m EPIC Hotel and Residence in the Baltic district. Elsewhere, contractor Forrest is busy completing the steel framework for the £100m, 1,007-bed Aura development next to the Royal hospital, while Vermont is progressing groundworks for the first of the company’s £250m ‘triple towers’ on Pall Mall on the northern edge of Liverpool’s business district.
Work is also to start shortly on site on the company’s £36m extension to Wolstenholme Square, to be known as The Address.
Lawless said that he believes Liverpool’s future to lie in becoming an urban resort “like Barcelona or Boston,” adding: “You’ve got this great blend of heritage and skyscrapers and a really interesting feel at street level.
“Visitor numbers are booming, but I sense the city’s about to reach a tipping point. When the dust has settled on things like the new cruise liner terminal and the myriad projects in the city centre Liverpool will be just knockout and I can see visitor numbers going stratospheric, and staying there.”
The city’s number of foreign visitors increased by more than a quarter in 2017, with figures released by the Office for National Statistics in July reporting 839,000 visitors in the year, up from 671,000 in 2016.
Research commissioned by the Liverpool City Region LEP, published in August, showed a 1.9% increase in total visitor numbers to the city, to 35.4m. In the years between 2009 and 2017, the economic value of the visitor economy to the city region grew by 66% to £4.53bn.
Lawless said that there is more to come as he finalises details on several other major investments in the city: “My ambition for Liverpool remains undimmed. Just look at what it is already, and what it could be. The city is headed for a new golden age and I want to play my part.”