In February Lendlease signed a contract for the enabling works and pre-construction services to redevelop the former Royal Mail sorting office at Copperas Hill, next to Lime Street Station. It was also named preferred bidder for an £80m main works contract, expecting to start in summer 2016. [See our previous report here.]
But, according to the Liverpool Echo, rising costs have made the scheme unviable and forced the university back to the drawing board.
The newspaper quotes an email to staff from vice chancellor Nigel Weatherill saying: “The reconstruction of the Royal Mail building is a large and complicated project, initially costed and budgeted at over £100m. However, since December 2015 the increase in cost is now in the order of 35%. The external environment has changed and, in addition to the cost, there is an increased overall risk to the project over the construction period. Projected completion would be spring 2019.”
However, he said that the government remain committed to developing the Copperas Hill site.
In a formal statement, the university said: “The university has taken the decision to consider new design proposals for the site after deciding that the additional funds needed for the major refurbishment of the Royal Mail building would have a significant impact on the student experience, and would affect plans for redevelopment elsewhere on the LJMU estate.
“The university remains committed to the Copperas Hill site being a major catalyst development for students and the City of Liverpool and will propose new plans for the site early in the New Year.”