View of the plaza proposed behind Lewis's

Merepark/Ballymore reveal Central Village phase one detail

Ballymore and Merepark have released content details for the first phase of the large mixed-use Central Village project in Liverpool city centre, which they claim will start on site in the coming months.

A spokeswoman for the joint venture said phase one will include the redevelopment of the landmark Lewis's department store, a hotel in the Watson Building on Renshaw Street and the retail/residential Boardwalk area which features two mid-rise residential towers.

The JV said the first phase had a projected £110m end value out of a total of £160m for the scheme.

The 70,000 sq ft Watson building will be extended onto the site of the former Rapid Hardware paint shop to form a 170,000 sq ft, 180-bedroom, four star-plus hotel. A planning decision on the Watson Building is due next month.

Plans for the 420,000 sq ft Lewis's building were approved last week and include an extensive refurbishment and reconfiguration; shops along Renshaw Street and Ranleigh Street, a new pedestrian thoroughfare through the building onto a new plaza linking into the heart of Central Village and the Ropewalks district beyond.

Boardwalk will be a "commercial podium" of around 10 retail/leisure units totalling 40,000 sq ft, together with two residential buildings up to 25 storeys tall with a total of 292 apartments including studios, 1 bed, 2 bed and penthouses.

The first phase will include all of the associated public realm and basement car parking.

However, development watchers in Liverpool remain sceptical that the scheme will start soon. It was initially scheduled to start on site last year. Ballymore this week put a freeze on its 44-storey Snow Hill project in Birmingham because of deteriorating market conditions. At its tower in Piccadilly, Manchester, ground works have started.

CBRE and Savills are agents on Central Village.

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