New owner could spend millions more on the famous building
The Royal Liver Building has been sold for £48m – and its new owner could spend millions more on the famous building.
The iconic Liverpool landmark has been bought by Luxembourg-based Corestate Capital.
It was put on sale for the first time in its history last year with a £40m price tag and attracted interest from potential investors from around the world.
Corestate founder Thomas Landschreiber says he is proud his company now owns such a “crazy and unique” building. And he has promised to invest “substantial funds” renovating office space to attract new tenants.
The Royal Liver Building was opened in 1911 as the home of Royal Liver Assurance and, with its rooftop Liver Birds, quickly became a symbol of the city. In 2011 Royal Liver and its headquarters were taken over by rival Royal London, which eventually decided to sell the building.
Mr Landschreiber, Corestate’s chief investment officer, says he was impressed by the building and by Liverpool.
He said: “If you’re doing real estate for a number of years the usual model is that 95% of the buildings that you have to deal with are, let’s say, normal or newly-erected buildings which could be replicated anywhere.
“But sometimes you say ‘what a crazy and unique building which you’d never build again in this life’.
“This is a quite exceptional building.
“When I saw it for the first time I was really impressed. The I read about the history and that this was the first time this building was on the market. “We are really proud now that we won that process and will become the owner.”
And he added: “The next step is to invest money and get tenants for the vacant space where we see a huge opportunity for Liverpool at the moment.”
As one of the UK’s most famous addresses, the building has attracted some big-name tenants.
International food giant Princes has its headquarters there, as does £50bn pension fund the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Other firms with offices in the building include HSBC and accountancy firm Grant Thornton.
Mr Landschreiber says there is a shortage of top-quality office space in Liverpool and that the new Royal Liver Building space can meet that demand.
He said: “The plan is to invest a significant amount of money to refurbish that vacant space then take it back to the market to try to attract new tenants and get it fully let.”
Asked how much Corestate planned to spend, he said it would be “no more than 12% of the purchase price”, meaning up to £5.8m.
The sale was led by estate agent CBRE. Its executive director Colin Thomasson said: “It is rare to see an asset like the Royal Liver Building come to market and advising on this sale has been a huge privilege.
“As we anticipated, the property attracted significant interest from investors across the world and we are delighted to have concluded the sale with Corestate.
“Liverpool is experiencing a resurgence, with significant activity across the city, and this investment from a respected international investor is yet another sign of confidence in the future of the city of Liverpool.”
Stephanie Hacking, Fund Manager at Royal London Asset Management, said: “It has been a huge honour to be involved in the sale of the Royal Liver Building. It is a unique property with a tremendous history and prestige.
“We were delighted to have received such considerable interest in the asset and very pleased to have concluded the sale to Corestate who will no doubt be proud owners going forward.”
Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has jointly bought the Royal Liver Building and its world-famous rooftop Liver Birds.
And the billionaire behind Everton’s new stadium plans says the deal for the city’s best-known building shows his pride in Liverpool as a “thriving international city”.
The world-famous building was sold for £48m in February to a consortium led by international property group Corestate.
Now the ECHO can reveal that Mr Moshiri, who bought his stake in Everton a year ago, was Corestate’s partner in the deal.
It was the first time the building had changed hands since it was built in 1911.
Whenever he visits his new waterfront property, Mr Moshiri will be able to look downriver towards Bramley Moore Dock where Everton hope to build a £300m stadium .
Corestate had already vowed to invest millions in the Royal Liver Building to attract new office tenants, as Liverpool is lacking in the top-class “Grade A” offices it needs to attract new businesses and jobs .
And Mr Moshiri says he is proud of the potential of the building and the city.
He told the ECHO: “I am delighted to have jointly acquired the Royal Liver Building, which is a world-class property in a bustling riverfront location.
“Following my investment in Everton last year, I am confident in the prospects for Liverpool as a thriving international city and am pleased that I have been able to make this investment in such a landmark building with potential for further improvement.”
The Royal Liver Building opened in 1911 as the home of Royal Liver Assurance. In 2011 Royal Liver was taken over by larger rival Royal London, which put the building up for sale last year.
Speaking to the ECHO in February to announce the deal, Corestate founder Thomas Landschreiber described the building as “crazy and unique”.
And he said: “The next step is to invest money and get tenants for the vacant space where we see a huge opportunity for Liverpool at the moment.”
By Alistair Houghton, Liverpool Echo
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