igloo’s Mark Bousfield says Liverpool City Region’s economy is improving
The Liverpool City Region’s economy is improving and deserves a closer look, writes igloo’s Mark Bousfield.
Its Gross Value Added (GVA) per head, a key measure of productivity, is back above three-quarters of the national average and growing, whilst its unemployment rate has fallen decisively towards the national average. These improvements highlight a long-term economic recovery ready to move into a growth phase.
You can see this progress in the city region’s commercial real estate market too. The city centre hotel offering has established and defended its high occupancy and we’ve seen the renewal of industrial estates, such as Knowsley Industrial Park, by owner occupiers and developers alike, as well as the preparation of strategic projects like Parkside in St Helens.
This is all positive news for the city region and the Chrysalis Fund, whose management consortium igloo leads, is continuing to pull its weight, having committed debt funding to four speculative industrial projects in Knowsley (two already built and let, two forthcoming), for almost 550,000 sq ft. Chrysalis also helps industrial enterprises; when international cable manufacturer, Tratos, wanted to expand its UK manufacturing operation, it too turned to Chrysalis as part of its funding package, to help it acquire an additional adjacent site for expansion, as well as supporting the redevelopment and expansion of production facilities on site. The newly improved site now houses state-of-the-art production equipment and includes more than 100,000 sq ft of new and refurbished manufacturing capacity. Tratos has also created 100 new jobs. Without the £3.5m loan from Chrysalis, this simply would not have been possible for the growing firm.
In the new, grant-light world of property development, Chrysalis has become a key part of the Liverpool area’s funding mix, with a flexible finance offering, whether debt, equity or another instrument, and with plenty of project support to assemble and deliver commercial propositions.