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Residential plan for Victorian Liverpool office building

A Grade-II listed Victorian building in Liverpool’s commercial district could be transformed into homes and a café as it faces “an uncertain future” as office space.

An application has been submitted to Liverpool City Council to ‘repair, restore and adapt’ 19 Castle Street, which was purpose-built in the late 19th Century as a commercial premises for the Scottish Equitable Life Assurance Society.

The building, which currently comprises vacant office space on its upper three floors and reduced occupied areas on the first and ground floor, also has a Greggs Bakers and the now vacant Skinny Malin health food outlet on either side of the main entrance.

If given the go ahead, the plans would see the creation of a new café in the former Skinny Malin unit, along with one, two and three-bedroom apartments across the first, second, third and fourth floors.

According to a document by Brock Carmichael, the architect for the proposals: “Today, some 130 years since its construction, the demand for the type of simply serviced office space contained within this and other similar commercial buildings of the same era has much reduced and resulted in a general oversupply in Liverpool’s business district.”

According to the application the scheme will ensure the building’s “long term sustainable and viable future which in turn will ensure that the building is appropriately maintained in a good state of repair so that it continues to contribute to the streetscape and significance of Liverpool’s historic business district”.

It adds: “As with other similar fine commercial buildings in the business district dating from this era, this building is also largely underused for the purpose for which it was originally built and as such faces an uncertain future in its current use classification.”