Lewis’s redevelopment to form city’s 83rd retail and leisure destination

 August 7, 2008         4 Comments

Lewis’s, Liverpool

One of Liverpool’s most famous buildings is to get a make-over in one of Liverpool council’s more sensible decisions.

Lewis’s will be redeveloped in a £100m project to turn it into an upmarket hotel, though it’s not known if anything will be done about the seemingly endless lanes of traffic that swathe the building.

 

Plans to develop Liverpool’s iconic Lewis’s building have been given the go-ahead by councillors. 

New owners Merepark are to carry out a £105m upgrade of the Grade II listed department store, turning it into a boutique hotel and retail development.

The original features will remain, including the frontage and Liverpool Resurgent statue by Sir Jacob Epstein.

Developers have said the project will create between 500 and 1,000 new jobs for the city.

Plans for the interior of the nine-storey building include a new open pedestrian street which leads out onto a new public plaza.

A bar and music venue will also be added, as will additional retail space.

Depending on how you greet news of more bars, hotels, shops and generic retail space in the city, the Lewis’s redevelopment is probably either good or rather indifferent news.

However, Merepark promises to retain the important bits of the building, along with opening up all nine floors – most of which are apparently used to store loads of old cardboard boxes, if you’ve ever looked into one of the top floors.

But given how many grand old buildings in the city are allowed to slip into ruin and dereliction, especially on Lime Street, it seems like a step in the right direction.

Less welcome is the desire to turn the area between Lewis’s and Central Station into another dreary concrete-and-glass retail’n’leisure village, complete with aspirational coffee, aspirational fountains and a couple of bloody massive concrete-and-glass aspirational skyscrapers to further ruin the Liverpool skyline.

Still, that’s the price of progress I suppose and if it creates a few more McJobs and gets rid of those awful Rapid shops on Renshaw Street then it can’t be all bad.

There’s more information on Merepark’s redevelopment plans, complete with those weird CGI figures photoshopped into over-bright architectural plans, here.

Comments

  1. The view from the back of Lewis’s is much more interesting. They’ve opened it all out with bars round the edge and a sort of courtyard in the middle through to Bold Street. I wouldn’t worry about the two big skyscrapers for the time being. Thanks to the credit crunch, my guess is it will be a while before either gets built.

  2. Good oh – as long as the staff in the new deli – if there is one – don’t pick up your food with their fingers and then take your germ laden cash, as they do now. Disgusting. And I thought Lewis’s was supposed to be posh!!

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