Liverpool One’s landlord wants to convert part of the vacant 185,000 sq ft department store into leisure space, which could feature a go-kart track.
Grosvenor has requested permission from Liverpool City Council to repurpose half of the retail space to provide an 80,000 sq ft home for an unnamed leisure operator.
The landlord is working with design practice The Studio and planning consultant Avison Young to develop the proposals for the former department store, located on the corner of Lord Street and South John Street.
While the retail and leisure operators for the Debenhams building have not yet been named, “there has been interest from a leisure operator that may include an element of a go-kart use”, according to Avison Young.
A similar approach is being taken at Wandsworth’s Southside shopping centre, where landlords Investec and Landsec have converted the store into an indoor amusement venue.
The attraction, which features go-karting, bowling and street golf, is being operated by Gravity Active Entertainment.
In Liverpool, the lower and upper ground floors of the former Debenhams store will be retained for retail use and will use the existing entrances. The first and second floors will be used for leisure and will be accessed from Chavasse Park.
A spokesperson from Grosvenor said: “No decisions have been taken at the moment regarding the future use of Debenhams. We are exploring a variety of uses for the former Debenhams store, including leisure.”
Along with John Lewis, Debenhams had been one of Liverpool One’s anchor tenants since the shopping centre opened in 2008. Debenhams closed its Liverpool store in May along with 123 others nationally.
The collapse of the retailer, a stalwart of the high street for more than 100 years, saw the loss of around 12,000 jobs.
Online retailer Boohoo bought the Debenhams brand and website for £55m in January.
Elsewhere, other Debenhams stores are being given new leases of life. In Bury, The Range has taken over the former Debenhams unit at the Rock.
In other places, landlords are moving away from retail. In Manchester, AM Alpha has won planning approval to convert the vast majority of the Rylands building on Market Street into 258,000 sq ft of offices.
In Leeds, Orchard Street Investment Management is also plotting an office conversion; the proposal also features 124 student beds.
Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street store in London is also destined for an office-led revamp.
- Also in Liverpool: Lyceum could become mini-golf course