A DISUSED pharmaceutical factory is to be transformed into a high-tech business park which could create up to 1,000 jobs.
The former GlaxoSmithKline site, which closed in June after a three year wind down, could once again become one of south Liverpool's biggest employers.
London-based New Capital Developments has bought the 30-acre site on Speke Boulevard, near Liverpool John Lennon Airport, and hopes to attract pharmaceutical and life science businesses to set up there.
The factory's inhalation centre, which was used to make inhalers for asthma sufferers, will become a major pharmaceutical manufacturing plant.
The main factory building will become a business centre with office and laboratory space to be rented out by high-tech companies of up to 50 people.
The business park will also include a large warehouse complex, which will either be part of the manufacturing plant or a separate business.
The site was sold on Friday and already six companies have expressed an interest in locating in Liverpool.
New Capital hope to sign the first deals by the New Year.
Mike Boynes, director of New Capital, said: "We believe there
are some exiting opportunities for us here at Speke, in particular by further building on the biopharm base that has been established in the area."
He added companies would be attracted to the site because of its proximity to the airport and National Bio Manufacturing Centre (NBMC), which is currently being built at the nearby Estuary Business Park.
The NBMC will be a base for some of Britain's leading scientists who will help commercial companies in south Liverpool with research.
Companies wanting to consult specialists at the NBMC will be able to rent space at the new business park by the week. Mr Boynes last night said New Capital would provide "substan-tial investment" for the scheme but he declined to say how much cash the company would spend.
He also declined to say how much the company paid for the site. Liverpool Garston MP Maria Eagle said: "I hope that New Capital will succeed in bringing up to 1,000 jobs to the area and repeat the success of their similar venture in Knowsley, in which case their acquisition should mark a significant new chapter for this key local site."
At its height, the Glaxo factory employed 600 people but three years ago management decided the pharmaceutical plant would close, despite union negotiations and protest rallies.
David Waugh, chief executive of Liverpool Land Development Company, said: "The proposals for the site will support our drive to attract investment and jobs to Speke Halewood by expanding the portfolio of sites and premises available to companies looking to relocate to this part of the region."
New Capital has previously converted the old AC Delco plant between Kirkby and Huyton, in Knowsley, into Deacon Park, a business park employing 2,500.