Liverpool’s first ever public library is set to be transformed into a brand new workspace tailored to the needs of companies in a post-pandemic world.

Duke & Parr, situated in the Ropewalks area of the city centre, is currently undergoing a comprehensive refurbishment, with developer CERT Property reinstating a host of the part-listed building’s original features.

The 57,000 sq ft space will embrace the ever-evolving needs of businesses as they move into the ‘new normal’ and welcome staff back into the office.

Alongside providing office spaces for companies to occupy and make their own, the building will provide nearly 4,000 sq ft of communal space across a grand reception, lounge, sitting room, atrium and beautiful wood-panelled boardroom.

The building, for which interiors specialist Sheila Bird is delivering the branding and design, will give tenants the opportunity to choose from a variety of units, from compact studio spaces to larger floorplates of up to 25,000 sq ft.

In addition to the main office suites, the building is also home to 35 music production and recording studios, split over two basement floors, creating space for the next generation to continue Liverpool’s strong heritage in music and cultural industries.

Howard Lord, founder of CERT Property, said: “As we know, we’ve all changed how – and where – we work over the last year, with many of us communicating and working together in a very different way. But, as we begin to enter the next stage of the new normality, businesses are looking at exactly what type of workspace their staff should be returning to.

“While many have embraced the perks of remote working, there really is no substitute for face-to-face connections and in-person teamwork. In our vision of the future, the office is a destination for collaboration and more of a multi-functional space than ever before.

“We know that every company will have their own specific must-haves for a workspace and no two companies will have the same requirements, which is why we want to offer a blank canvas, but still providing the key fundamentals.

“There is no single sector that will set up here, as we want different industries to be able to collaborate and tap into each other’s expertise, with a strong community feel as that’s definitely something we’ve all missed while working from home.”

Situated on the corner of Duke Street, parallel to Parr Street, Duke & Parr is steeped in history, having originally been the city’s first public library, then home to the Union newspaper and, later, home to maritime, financial services and infrastructure giant Bibby.

Among CERT’s refurbishment work is a commitment to restoring some of the building’s unique features, such as its original cornicing and parquet flooring, long hidden behind suspended ceilings and false walls.

Building work is set to complete in the summer, with and a number of tenants in the leisure, tech and creative industries already in discussion for occupation from September.

Howard added: “We have had an unwavering ambition to restore this building to its former glory and not even a pandemic has stopped us from following through with that vision.

“The building has been at the core of some of the most important industries throughout Liverpool’s history and I firmly believe that what we are delivering will be an inspiring place for people to come to for collaboration and creativity, meaning the building will remain a centre for some of the most important businesses driving the growth of the city, now and in to the future.