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Three Graces building SOLD

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Wed 25 Nov 2015

Three Graces building SOLD

One of Liverpool’s world famous Three Graces – the Port of Liverpool Building – has changed hands in a deal worth more than £27m.

Liverpool property group Downing has agreed to sell the office building to an unnamed international investor.

However, the ECHO understands the buyer to be a family-owned investment business based in the Middle East.

Downing, owned by Merseyside entrepreneur George Downing, acquired the Grade II listed building in 2001 and has since spent £8.5m on refurbishments.

Ann Lodge, chief executive of Downing, said: “We invested heavily to restore The Port of Liverpool Building to its original glory and to bring it up to grade A equivalent standard.

“Our multi-million pound programme of works to refurbish and modernise the building will help to ensure it retains its place in the city’s architectural legacy for many decades to come.

“The sale process was incredibly competitive, with strong international and domestic interest. This is a great sign for the Liverpool property market and shows that the city is firmly on the map for international investors.

“We’re delighted to have an agreement in place and look forward to finalising this process before the end of the year. The sale will put us in a strong position to continue to grow the Downing brand and acquire more prime UK sites for investment and development.”

The sale was handled Cushman & Wakefield acting for the vendor and by Bilfinger GVA and Cew Capital acting for the purchaser.

In a joint statement Bilfinger and Cew said: “Our client is delighted to have acquired such a trophy asset and has a long term hold strategy for the property.

“The ongoing renaissance of Liverpool played an important part in their decision to acquire the property, and they look forward to continuing to invest in this prime Liverpool asset.

The Port of Liverpool Building sits on the waterfront alongside the Cunard Building and the Royal Liver Building.

Designed by architects Sir Arnold Thornely and FB Hobbs and constructed by the Manchester building firm, William Brown & Son, it was built to house the headquarters of the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board (MDHB).

Work began on the Port of Liverpool Building in 1904 and it was completed in 1907 at a cost of around £350,000.

MDHB continued to occupy the building before moving out in 1994 and it now has a number of business occupiers, including stockbroker, Rathbone Brothers, one of the city’s oldest professional firms.