Lonely Planet Writer

Liverpool’s iconic Royal Liver Building set to go under the hammer for over £40 million

Liverpool’s instantly recognisable Royal Liver Building is on the market with a price tag of over £40 million.

The Liver Building and Pier Head viewed across the River Mersey, Liverpool, England.
The Liver Building and Pier Head viewed across the River Mersey. Image by Getty Images

It’s the first time in the 105-year history of the iconic building that it has been put up for sale. The Financial Times reports that the UK building is part of a Unesco World Heritage site, which also includes the Cunard and Port of Liverpool edifices. Together they are known as the ‘Three Graces’ and dominate the waterfront view on Merseyside. However, the building with the two Liver Birds has been the best known of the three that watch over the city.  The Royal Liver building is almost 295-feet-high and first opened its doors for business in 1911. However, insurer Royal London Mutual Insurance Society, which acquired the premises five years ago after taking over the Royal Liver group, is now putting it up for sale. The company has no staff operating from the building according to the FT, but there are 19 tenants including accountancy firm, Grant Thornton and the Japanese Food Company, Princes.

The Three Graces comprise the Liver Building, the Cunard and Port Authority
The Three Graces comprise the Liver Building, the Cunard and Port Authority
Image by Getty Images

According to property agent, CBRE, it is not expected that either the name or use of the Liver Building will change following the sale. There is 330,000-square-feet of office space in the Grade 1 listed building, which gives it a protected and “exceptional interest” status. It was last refurbished around the time of the takeover in 2011.

The executive director of CBRE, Colin Thomasson, said he expected strong interest in the premises from investors, not just in Britain, but around the world. He described the sale as representing a very rare opportunity to buy “a unique part of Liverpool’s heritage.” He said he had never come across a situation where a building with a history spanning over 100 years had not been sold before. It is famous for the two Liver Bird sculptures on top of its clock towers, a depiction of which is part of Liverpool football club’s crest, and has led to it becoming synonymous both with the club and city right across the globe. Interestingly, the Cunard Building was bought by the City Council for £10 million, three years ago. The authority believes that following a £5 million face-lift, the property is now worth around £30 million. It has 285,000-square-feet of office space.