Lewis’s stalls again

Question marks remain over the redevelopment of Lewis's Department Store in Liverpool's Central Village scheme as works have yet again been postponed less than a year after the last contractor was appointed to finish the job.

The Merepark Development scheme was initially being built by the developer's Merepark Construction arm, however works stalled when the construction business went into liquidation in 2013. Mansell, part of Balfour Beatty, was appointed to the scheme in August 2013, but exited the project in January this year after completing enabling works. At the time of Mansell's appointment Merepark indicated that the contractor would be finishing the scheme.

There is currently no contractor appointed and no work taking place on site.

A syndicate of clients of Regent Capital and the Co-operative Bank agreed to forward fund the £37.1m redevelopment in 2010. The initial timescale for completion was the end of 2011. Both funders were unable to confirm to Place North West when a contractor would be appointed to carry out the rest of the work.

The overall Central Village project covers six acres off Renshaw Street and Bold Street above Liverpool Central Station and is being delivered in a joint venture between Merepark and Ballymore. Later phases including an Odeon cinema and restaurant block are yet to be developed. Pre-let agreements have been signed with the Restaurant Group's Chiquito, Coast to Coast, and Indian restaurant chain Zouk Tea Bar & Grill.

Planning was granted in 2008 for the upper four floors of Lewis's to be renovated and converted into 85,000 sq ft of offices and a 119-bedroom Adagio Aparthotel, while the lower five floors would be used for leisure and retail units totalling over 160,000 sq ft.

The Adagio Aparthotel opened in March 2013.

Lewis's Liverpool, the funding vehicle behind the scheme, submitted a planning application to Liverpool City Council in March, amending the original plans to partly demolish the building to make way for a pedestrian plaza on Cropper Street. However for the two plans that were submitted, one was labelled invalid and the other was withdrawn.

All parties declined to comment.

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