Liverpool City Council has bought the Festival Garden site, with various events billed to take place soon.
The organisation completed negotiations with development company Langtree to acquire the land, and plans to turn the site into a ‘world-class cultural destination’.
The deal ends the 30 years of uncertainty about the future of the site, which hosted the International Garden Festival, set up in the wake of the Toxteth riots in 1984. The festival attracted 3.8 million visitors in its heyday.
Despite The Garden Festival’s success, the site closed its doors in 1985 and, while part of the site was developed into residential housing, the remainder of the gardens underwent numerous regeneration attempts before falling into a state of disrepair.
Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson said he plans to use the land for community, cultural and artistic events. “This is a significant moment in the future of the Festival Gardens site and brings a bright new cultural future considerably closer to reality,” he said.
“We have worked well with Langtree in concluding the deal in a short timeframe to allow us to get on with the important matter at hand of delivering a great new visitor attraction and maximising the development opportunities at this critically important site.”
A report to the cabinet read: “The site represents some unique opportunities for cultural events, concerts, exhibitions and community engagement. Because of the nature of the site it could be an extension of the city’s theatrical, musical and public art offer.”
Stephen Barnes, development director at Langtree, said: “The restored gardens provide a foundation stone upon which a new future for the entire site can be built and we wish the city well in their future endeavours.”