'World class dining' scheme for Liverpool's Cunard Building scrapped

Living Ventures - the Cheshire-based hospitality group behind multiple Manchester venues including The Alchemist, The Oast House and the recently launched Grand Pacific - has scrapped multi-million pound plans to launch a Liverpool branch of Spinningfields' Australasia restaurant.

Announced in June 2015, the £6m project - which included the opening of another upmarket restaurant, Cunard House, modelled on Manchester House and overseen by head chef Aiden Bryne - aimed to turn the city's famous Cunard Building (pictured above) into a “world class dining experience”.

Both venues were set to open in 2016 but Liverpool City Council remained tight lipped when asked, last autumn, for an ETA, saying discussions were still "ongoing".

Living Ventures, whose founder Tim Bacon sadly died last April following a long cancer battle, has confirmed to Confidential that it has dropped its plans for the waterfront landmark. It gave no reason for the decision.

Sealing the deal in July 2015: Late Living Ventures CEO Tim Bacon, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, Lord Carlile CBE QC, chairman of Astutus Strategy, and Astutus Director John Hyland
20170329 Australasia Cunard 2
Australasia, Manchester

“The next Australasia opening is planned for London and then we are looking at Edinburgh. We have just last week opened Grand Pacific in Manchester and we are considering opportunities in other cities, including Liverpool, for this concept which is part of the Australasia stable,” said a spokeswoman for the company.

Liverpool City Council, which now owns the Cunard Building and has relocated its headquarters there, is seeking an alternative operator.