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Willmott Dixon to take on former Lendlease site for Liverpool uni

Exclusive: Willmott Dixon is in line to take on the site of a former Lendlease project for Liverpool John Moores University.

Lendlease originally won the £80m contract in early 2016 to transform a former Royal Mail sorting office on the university’s Copperas Hill campus development into a new mixed-use building.

However, Lendlease stepped back from the project in November last year.

The university said costs had soared by 35 per cent and announced it would be revising plans for the development at Copperas Hill, with the extra funds needed for the Royal Mail sorting office scheme threatening to “affect plans for redevelopment elsewhere on the LJMU estate”.

The university has now decided to demolish the Royal Mail sorting office and replace it with new buildings – with an engineering centre among the proposals – rather than redeveloping it into lecture theatres and teaching space as originally planned.

Demolition firm Armac has been appointed to carry out the works in July this year.

Construction News understands the university is now looking to procure parts of the revised scheme through Scape’s Major Works framework, putting sole contractor Willmott Dixon in line to pick up that work.

An LJMU spokesperson said: “The university is considering new design proposals for the Copperas Hill project and the latest phase of this new approach includes appointing Armac Demolition to take down the existing building on the site to clear the way for a new 2.4 ha development.

“We are continuing to consider the exciting plans for the Copperas Hill project, which will be a major catalyst for our students and the city of Liverpool.”

Under the original plans (pictured), the five-storey building would have been expanded from 280,000 sq ft to 355,000 sq ft, with a five-a-side football pitch created on the roof.

The sorting office building is situated next to Liverpool’s Lime Street station and would have acted as a bridge between the university’s Mount Pleasant and Byrom Street campuses.

Willmott Dixon declined to comment. Lendlease has been contacted for comment.

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