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Home » Liverpool’s Littlewoods Complex Transformation: Historic Tower To Be Dismantled And Rebuilt

Liverpool’s Littlewoods Complex Transformation: Historic Tower To Be Dismantled And Rebuilt

Liverpool’s iconic Littlewoods building is set to have its landmark tower dismantled and reconstructed as part of a grand scheme to transform the site into a film and TV hub known as “The Hollywood of the North.”

In preparation for the final restoration phase, ongoing investigations are being conducted to determine what measures need to be taken to ensure the building’s structural integrity. Engineering teams surveying the existing structures have concluded the tower needs to be disassembled and rebuilt after being unused for years.

Capital & Centric, the property’s owners, revealed digital analysis from laser monitoring devices placed on the tower has confirmed engineers’ suspicions that the tower is unsafe and could potentially collapse if not addressed.

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A safety zone has now been established around the tower, prohibiting workers from entering that area of the site. The tower is scheduled to be carefully dismantled in the upcoming weeks.

The plan is to reconstruct the tower at its original location, reusing elements from the original structure in the site’s overhaul. A planning application detailing the tower’s reconstruction is currently under consideration by Liverpool City Council, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Work began on the Littlewoods location in December of the previous year. The team has been conducting a phased evaluation of the structure’s state.

Following this groundwork, primary contractors will take over, leading the building of two 20,000 square foot studios for big-budget productions on the adjoining plot of land.

The Littlewoods Project’s plans filed with the city council outline a mission to make the site accessible to the public for the very first time, complete with landscaped courtyard gardens, a roof terrace, a place for screenings and performances, and a food court.

Capital & Centric is currently engaging in discussions with a range of operators that have expressed interest in utilizing the space. Their ambition is to convert the 1930s buildings into a prominent destination recognised globally for television and film production.

The company collaborates with Liverpool council, holding freehold rights to the site, as well as the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority backing the project financially. The Combined Authority, under the leadership of Mayor Steve Rotheram, has pledged £17m towards the venture.

John Moffat, Capital & Centric’s joint managing director, noted: “We are entering a critical phase of the restoration, as we peel back the layers of the building following decades of it sitting empty. The building is revealing itself and showing us where it needs our input most.

“We’ve explored every option to secure the original tower structure in situ, but the conclusions of several teams of experts have confirmed we need to dismantle it, re-use as much of the material and recreate the tower structure. We want to do this soon. If the tower collapsed, it could not only cause severe damage to the rest of the building, but put lives at risk.

“Our priorities are keeping everyone safe and saving what we can of the buildings, working to minimise the amount of structure needing to be re-built.”

He added: “We’ve restored lots of listed buildings and our experience meant we always anticipated the ongoing remediation would uncover structural challenges. Dismantling the tower will cost more, but it’s a necessary last resort one that can be covered under the existing project budget.

“It’s likely the building will look quite sorry for itself once the tower section is removed, but it will improve over time as restorative work progresses. Our intention is to record the structure in detail, keep what we can of the materials and rebuild it as part of the re-purposing of the site into a cultural hub for TV and film. Elsewhere on site, good progress is being made to clear out the buildings from years of debris and decay and prep the two wings for redevelopment.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The Littlewoods building has been a massive part of the Liverpool community for generations, and I know it holds a special place in the hearts of many of our residents. Throughout this process, we have been committed to preserving the building’s iconic heritage, however, we also need to ensure that it is carefully and safely restored to fulfil their big ambitions we have for its future.

“Our area is already the second most filmed location outside of London and the £17m the Combined Authority has invested into this project will ensure that Liverpool City Region can continue to cater for every stage of the production process and attract the thousands of jobs and training opportunities it will bring. It is a huge step towards cementing the City Region’s status as the Hollywood of the North.”

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