Augur acquisition puts Lewis’s back in spotlight

Investor developer Augur has acquired the landmark 400,000 sq ft Lewis’s Building in Liverpool, along with surrounding land to make up a five-acre scheme it will market as The Circus.

The deal was announced at retail property conference Revo, which opened in the city today.

Augur will work with Liverpool City Council and Network Rail at the site, which adjoins Liverpool Central Station. The firm has been working alongside Network Rail to enable the expansion of the station to accommodate growing passenger numbers, which reached nearly 16 million in 2015/2016.

Included in the acquisition is the 126-room Adagio Hotel, 70,000 sq ft of refurbished office space over four floors, of which half is let to the NHS, and a 25,000 sq ft Pure Gym on the lower ground floor.

On completion, the rest of the site will offer commuters, visitors and students over 275,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space over five floors. Augur said that it is already in detailed discussions with cinema operators and a number of retail and leisure tenants.

Chief executive Simon Mann said: “In developing Circus, we are restarting the regeneration of the Lewis’s Building, bringing back to life a significant and historic landmark in the city and creating a brand new, mixed-use destination for the people of Liverpool.

“At a time when the city is undergoing major infrastructure improvements we see Circus as a brand new central place for people to come together for retail, leisure and work. It is a prime location where more than 40,000 people travel through daily.”

Some heritage works are already underway at the site.

Developers Merepark and Ballymore advanced plans for Central Village on the land between Lewis’s and the station before the 2008 crash, with various designs being proposed and restaurant operators signed up. In 2007, Merepark bought the Lewis’s Building in alliance with its previous owner Capital & Counties.

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Fitting name given the sites history

By Paul Kershaw

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