Is Liverpool’s business community back at the office?
Footfall between the traditional commuter hours of 8-9am in Liverpool city centre increased by 20% in September compared with August. In a month which saw many businesses returning to the office, the increase suggests a return to morning commuting and a regular office routine.
New acquisitions and openings in the area point to a new direction and belief in the continued pull of the Business quarter of the city centre.
September has seen a return to a more normal working routine for many, according to data gathered by Liverpool BID Company. Occupancy rates at serviced office developments are back to around 35%, while footfall has increased in the city centre during the core commute times of 8am – 9am. In August, the total footfall between 8 and 9am was 124,296. In September, that rose by 20% to 149,435. The largest bump is seen on Monday mornings, suggesting that Monday’s appear to be the day that people are returning to the office more than other days.
September’s total is also a 19% increase on July’s, where footfall during the same hour was 125,324, suggesting the increase is due to more people returning to the office for work.
Julie Johnson, Business Operations Partner at Morecrofts Solicitors and Acting Chair of Culture & Commerce BID, says while people are returning to desks, it is a more flexible model that is being adopted by many firms.
“We are seeing businesses returning to their offices but we knew this would be a gradual process. Flexibility and a hybrid offer has been a core message from many businesses as they look to navigate the new normal. The confidence shown in the Commercial District illustrates it is still a major draw, and Liverpool is perfectly placed for those looking for a flexible option.”
New acquisitions and regeneration of major buildings within the Commercial District point to continued confidence in its future, along with a hybrid way of working. HMRC’s multi million-pound redevelopment of India Buildings has been completed, with over 4,000 new staff coming into the Commercial District.
INNSiDE, a new hotel by Meliá has opened on Old Hall Street within the old offices of Reach and the Liverpool Echo. With a vibrant and creative interior design, the hotel is colourful and lively, adding much needed animation to the street and a destination for visitors and businesses alike. The restaurant within the Hotel is Gino D’Acampo Old Hall Street and is billed as a modern space to meet up with colleagues and contacts to enjoy the wonderful menu.
That building will also house Sony who are moving their staff from Wavertree to Liverpool’s Commercial District.
The beloved Martin’s Bank Building, one of the most stunning in the city, will soon become grade A office space for both small and large companies. The building has been purchased by Kinrise, who have said they will keep the ground floor public with a space for exhibitions, events, a cafe and flexible workspace.
Sam Lawson Johnston, Co-Founder of Kinrise, explains why:
“Liverpool is a richly diverse and vibrant city and we have been looking for a site here for a number of years. Martins Bank Building in the city’s commercial centre meets all the requirements we look for in a building; central location, an abundance of character, great natural light and volume of space – it is the perfect addition to our portfolio. The signature Kinrise, design-led refurbishment will soon begin throughout the building and alongside private office space, we hope to create a welcoming ground floor area open to the public and space for cultural programmes and future local community events.”