Merseyside Development Corporation
Merseyside's famous waterfront has always formed a major part of the area's business activities. In the nineteenth century the booming docks contributed to the city's wealth through the import of exotic goods such as spices and cotton. This was followed by the success of the ocean going liners launched by Cunard travelling to Canada and America. Today the waterfront is as significant as ever, forming a major focus for the city's business and leisure activities.
The regeneration of the waterfront has been led by Merseyside Development Corporation. Established in 1981 it has proved the catalyst for regeneration in the area, attracting a total of £400m of private investment. The waterfront was probably at its lowest ebb when MDC took over responsibilities for it but the Corporation recognised the area's potential and pledged to restore both the economy and the community.
MDC's first major project - carried out in conjunction with the private sector - was the regeneration of the Albert Dock. Its transformation to a centre for commerce, tourism and leisure began in 1982. Comprising five buildings it houses attractions such as the Tate Gallery, Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story alongside prime retail units and commercial office space.
With over 5 million people visiting the site a year this is among Britain's most popular tourist attractions and is a major focus for the 14,000 people who are now employed in Merseyside's tourism industry.
Albert Dock, a mixed use development of commerce, tourism, leisure and a major visitor attraction.
Business and Retail Parks
Another of MDC's successful regeneration projects is the Brunswick Business Park. Located on the South Liverpool waterfront it is centred around a selection of attractive dock buildings. The mixture of old and new has proved a winning combination with over 600,000 sq ft occupied. The Business Park has attracted a diverse selection of companies from manufacturers to distribution groups employing almost 2,000 people. The combination of quality space at competitive rates has encouraged companies such as Cable North West, McIntyre & King and King & Fowler to relocate to the park. The next phase, 200,000 sq ft, is already receiving positive tenant interest.
One of MDC's largest developments welcomed its first tenant in January. The Twelve Quays scheme, located in Birkenhead, comprises a Roll-on Roll-off Ferry Terminal, a Science Park and a Business Park. Meyer (UK) Ltd will be moving its office and warehouse operations to a 32,000 square foot development at the Business Park, later this year. Funding for the £1.7m project was substantially helped by an MDC City grant worth £373,000.
Further along the Mersey at the famous Cammell Laird, a Canadian company. Mackie Automotive Systems, has opened its. first European base. The company makes car parts, including head linings and boot mats and are well positioned for serving the nearby Vauxhall plant.
Links with North America have remained strong and MDC has capitalised on this with a strategic marketing campaign throughout the States and Canada. PriceCostco is an example of an American company which was attracted to Merseyside as a result of this drive. Construction started on a membership warehouse club in North Liverpool at the beginning of the year. This major development is due to open in autumn this year.
The most recent development to be announced on the waterfront is a £20 million retail park at the former Herculaneum Dock. The Riverside Retail Park will comprise 200,000 square feet of retail space with 11 main retail units. It will also have restaurants, craft workshops and a petrol filling station, providing major employment opportunities for the region. The scheme, which is funded by Berkeley Commercial and developed jointly by Capital and Albemarle and Berkeley Commercial, will be opened within 12 months of construction.
One of Liverpool's waterfront's most famous landmarks was relaunched in May this year when MDC's Chairman, Sir Desmond Pitcher 'handed back' the rejuvenated Pier Head to the City represented by Lord Mayor of Liverpool. MDC spent three years and £3.5 million regenerating the home to the 'three sisters': the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. The space has now been cleared of the city's bus depot and incorporates a seven acre public open space with lawns. walkways, a new loop road, and a bandstand. The relaunch was marked with a ceremony where trees were planted along the Pier Head commemorating the Canadian ships lost during the Battle of the Atlantic.
Liverpool Pierhead with its revised layout and landscape designed by Allies and Morrison,
winner in a limited competition held in 1990.
Future growth looks set to continue with the development of Princes Dock involving a £100m project incorporating office space, residential apartments and leisure facilities. The regeneration which MDC has carried out on the waterfront and the investment it has attracted has led to the area once again being the pride of the city with a waterfront to rival anywhere else in the world #