Rapid solves riddle of old John Lewis store for Grosvenor

One of the last remaining conundrums of Grosvenor's Liverpool One retail project has been solved by local DIY retailer Rapid Hardware.

Rapid is to relocate from several buildings on Renshaw Street into the store due to be vacated by John Lewis, formerly George Henry Lee, on Church Street when it moves in to Liverpool One next spring.

Rapid will arrive at Church Street in 2011, after a two-year occupancy by Marks & Spencer when its own store next door will be refurbished.

Under the Section 106 conditions of its planning consent for the 43-acre Liverpool One project, Grosvenor was obliged to agree a plan of action for the Church Street store with Liverpool City Council before the new John Lewis opened on Paradise Street.

The outgoing John Lewis store is two buildings totalling 250,000 sq ft and ranging from four to seven storeys linking Church Street with Williamson Square.

The annual rent of between £1.5m and £2m meant it was likely to appeal only to large traders. Next, Boots, and TK Maxx, whose leases are either up for review in Liverpool or currently trading from multiple sites, had all been linked with the opportunity to consolidate on Church Street. So too had Quiggins, the eclectic market popular with young people, which eventually left the Liverpool One area for Renshaw Street.

Liz Jenkins, group director of operations at Rapid, said: "We had the opportunity to move to retail parks and could have moved anywhere. But we were quite stubborn that we wanted to stay in the city centre."

Rapid's current site will be redeveloped under a scheme to be supervised by urban regeneration company Liverpool Vision.

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