Canning Place is the latest in a series of key sites along Central Liverpool’s Strand that will soon be seeing change, or at least the opportunity for it.
Currently the main operational centre for Merseyside Police this 1970’s brick fortress will soon be vacated as the force splits it’s operations between Speke and St Anne Street’s new bases leaving yet another large empty office building in the centre of the city with an uncertain future.
The site is sprawling with a large part taken up by parking and other police operational space which today forms quite a barrier between Kings Dock and the Albert Dock which are now far more of a focal point than perhaps they where at the time of the Merseyside HQ construction leaving the current site arrangement rather obstructive.
The design concepts created by CGI Fantasist below explore the unlocking of this site for yes another hotel (given the location it’s hardly surprising) but also for at least a third of the site to be again given over to much needed grade A office space - something Liverpool is crying out for in the pursuit of attracting major new employers and jobs to central Liverpool compared to competitor cities such as Manchester and Leeds.
The design also features the creation of a new open public space and a water feature as part of a more permeable arrangement of the site with also the prompting of improvements to key road crossings allowing this site to be a crossing point in general between Liverpool One, the ever growing Baltic Triangle and the waterfront.
In addition it might even be worth retaining the existing privacy screen applied to the side of the John Lewis car park (requested apparently to stop parking-up shoppers taking a look through the Police HQ windows) and repurposing it as a live events screen to compliment a new open space?
A landmark commercial development on the site could create a new city icon, attract a major blue chip employer to this prestigious site and ensure that the city does not see yet another defunct office block fall into the hands of certain local developers who unfortunately will spend the bare minimum on ‘conversion’ of the existing tired building, probably into a trashy hotel or ‘studio’ residential development before adding an ill conceived and poorly constructed roof extension on top - that cannot be allowed to happen again, especially in this location where world class standards need to be applied, and a strong international developer and a global architectural practice.