Retail and leisure complex Liverpool ONE has been hailed as an outstanding placemaking success story in a new global study.
The research by CBRE and Gehl Architects reviewed 11 initiatives in the UK, Australia, USA, Italy, Denmark, Germany, France and South Korea – all of which have a specific public realm intervention at their core.
CBRE examined the commercial effect from a demand and supply and real estate values perspective before and after public realm has taken place, while Gehl assessed the way in which public spaces contribute to the human experience of urban areas.
The £900 million private-led Liverpool ONE redevelopment project has been named as a laudable initiative in the study alongside sites including the capital’s London Granary Square, King’s Cross and Duke of York Square.
The scheme transformed a 42-acre site of retail space, vacant buildings and a car park into 200 shops, more than 500 apartments, two hotels, 26 restaurants, a 14-screen cinema, four office buildings, a five-acre public park and a public transport interchange.
It has successfully achieved a low vacancy rate, continuously rising footfall and is suggested to have provided substantial improvement in the human experience, in turn attracting big brands such as Apple and Harvey Nichols.
Retail rents are also said to have increased by 17.5% compared to a 7.4% decline in Liverpool as a whole since 2008.
Neil Kirkham, director of CBRE’s office agency team in Liverpool, says: “To attract the best talent pool, employers need to be confident they have excellent amenities in close proximity for their staff to enjoy – with the blurring of work-life patterns, people want to be in cool places they are happy to migrate to and work in, they want to break away from work time; linger after work; eat, drink and access cultural activities easily and the evolution of public spaces into ‘community spaces’ provides this. The added benefit to employers is this enhanced wellbeing leads to higher staff productivity.
“Before the Liverpool ONE redevelopment, the city had the neglected and run down Chavasse Park – at that point Liverpool was placed around 15 in retail ranking scales and has now risen to number five since the completion and success of Liverpool ONE, which is a huge achievement for the city and the region as a whole.
“Liverpool ONE has been transformational by not only delivering a very high quality retail offer and enhanced shopping environment, but also in the way it has reconnected the historic central business district and retail quarter with the city’s biggest tourist attractions, the waterfront and Albert Dock, which in turn has had a significant impact on the image and perception of Liverpool generally.”