Liverpool City Council has appointed contractor Willmott Dixon and consulting engineer Arup to undertake a $2m site investigation to kickstart its $1bn Festival Park regeneration scheme.
The two companies will spend two months carrying out surveys of the 90 acre Festival Gardens and Southern Grasslands site, which is earmarked for a development that will contain some 2,500 homes, 350,000 sq ft of commercial and leisure space, as well as a ferry terminal.
A masterplan for the site has already been prepared by Liverpool firm K2 Architects, which is aiming to create what it calls a "cultural garden suburb".
The plan divides the site into distinct areas:
- Dingle Bank is the residential zone, and comes with a primary school, medical centre and community hub.
- Jericho Wharf is the social centre, with hotels, bars and restaurants.
- Jericho Shore will be the beachfront neighbourhood with residential apartments, pavement cafes, restaurants and bars, designed around an "Amsterdam-style" canal.
- Festival Gardens will include the existing gardens.
- The Southern Grasslands will become a natural habitat for wildlife.
Arup has already completed a remediation strategy for an area in the north of the site, and Willmott Dixon will carry out a £232,000 package of enabling works to create a 19 acre temporary events space in the area around the former Festival Garden dome.
The scheme is to be operated by Heritage GB for this portion of the site, and has an exclusivity agreement with the company until March this year.
Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, said: "Festival Park has the potential to be a huge game changer for this city’s economy. I’m encouraged by the work to date and the proposals Heritage Great Britain are developing for a major leisure attraction and we will soon be in a position to share these with the public.
"There is much work to be done but these site surveys will provide us with a roadmap to making this vision a reality over the coming decade."
The council is presently seeking a development partner to take the project forward.
Image: K2’s rendering of the completed development