Never accepting ‘the norm’ – an article by Colin Sinclair

Liverpool’s economy is the fastest growing out of all Northern Powerhouse City Regions. Over the next five to seven years £2bn-worth of investment will be pumped into redevelopment in Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool).

Having been in post as CEO for just two years now, I wanted to take the opportunity to look back at some of the successes of the KQ Liverpool team, whilst looking forward to what is likely to be announced in the coming months.

Hailed as a landmark investment deal and a key moment for the future of the Northern Powerhouse, back in 2016 the KQ Liverpool partners won a competitive process against Manchester and Leeds, when the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) chose Liverpool as the new home for RCP North. Less than two years later and they are already working out of the University of Liverpool-owned William Henry Duncan building, whilst Liverpool City Council build their new iconic home.

That leads me seamlessly onto Paddington Village, the 30-acre expansion of the KQ Liverpool Mayoral Development Zone, where the new 160,000 sq ft building – The Spine – is being built. As the RCP was the catalyst for the building and are taking 70,000 sq ft for themselves, The Spine will be one of the world’s healthiest buildings and one of the first in the UK to achieve the international WELL standard.

Other standout moments for Paddington Village were fighting off other UK cities to secure the pioneering £35m Rutherford Cancer Centre North West, and the University of Liverpool (UoL) and Kaplan choosing to open one of Europe’s largest international colleges there too. More recently, we have appointed an architect and shortlisted the brand for the new hotel that will sit next to The Spine and are already in talks on the few remaining plots.

Just across the road from Paddington is the rapidly changing health campus. Not only are the new £429m Royal Hospital and £157m Clatterbridge Cancer Centre being built, the £25m Life Sciences Accelerator also opened last year and as the old hospital is demolished other NHS Trusts are expected to join the fold, making it one of UK’s largest clinical campuses.

Accelerator is a bioscience incubator, offering unrivalled access to both its partners – the NHS and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) – and was one of three pioneering buildings (Accelerator, Sensor City and Materials Innovation Factory) to open over the last 12 months. It is also now home to the new Centre of Excellence in Infectious Disease Research (CEIDR), a partnership between UoL and LSTM, focused on translational partnering in infectious diseases. The latter of which was identified in the recent Government Science and Innovation Audit as one of Liverpool’s world-leading strengths, alongside Materials Chemistry and Cognitive Computing/Artificial Intelligence.

Just behind the health campus is the newly created Fabric District, the industrial enclave between London Road and New Islington, which is amidst a huge transformation to see it regain its status as a vibrant part of Liverpool City Centre. At the heart of the Fabric District is the Tapestry – a 25,000 sq ft former print works, which has quietly undergone a huge refurbishment, re-working the industrial site into a multi-functional space where residents and visitors can work, create and relax.

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