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Liverpool takes lead in race to host Libeskind's rainforest

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Liverpool has overtaken Blackpool as the preferred city for Daniel Libeskind's outlandish indoor Amazonian rainforest scheme.

The £75 million tourist attraction - which has been likened to Grimshaw's Eden Project in Cornwall - was originally earmarked for Blackpool. But Liverpool's derelict garden festival site has now emerged as a frontrunner for the scheme.

Libeskind's scheme, which would include a hotel and visitor centre as well as a rainforest housing plants and animals, is being backed by Rainforest Ventures, a consortium set up by investor John Woodman and Robin Lock - adviser to the design of the Eden Project's biodome.

Woodman and Lock were given a tour of the city's 33ha garden festival site yesterday (14 November). If chosen, the rainforest project would bring the site back to life after 22 years of disuse and failed developments.

Woodman said: 'We want to build something similar to the Eden Project, although more focused on a tropical rainforest, in the North West.

'Instead of having to fly 5,000 miles to visit a rainforest somewhere else in the world, it would be situated within an hour's drive of six million people.'

A decision on the location is not expected until early next year, with a completion date set for 2010.

by Richard Vaughan

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