Lewis’s to make way for leisure/lifestyle/retail hub/haven/destination thing

 February 24, 2010         8 Comments

Inevitably Lewis’s is closing its doors this year, over 150 years after the famous department store opened its doors.

It seems unpleasantly ironic that at a time when Liverpool is supposedly getting back on its feet, the store boasting the ‘Liverpool Resurgent’ statue is conceding defeat.

The fact that Liverpool’s resurgence was marked by a bloke with his cock out did not go unnoticed by locals and visitors, with the store regularly referred to as Dickie Lewis’s
In one of my first blogs a couple of years I remarked that the likely closure of Lewis’s to make way for another leisure/retail/lifestyle hub/haven/paradise was a rather depressing state of affairs and, sure enough, it’s come to pass.

It’s also a bit of a coincidence that a new exhibition of the store open in Liverpool this week, supported by a website detailing the experiences and memories of former staff.

Theoretically, Lewis’s could reopen in two year’s time, once extensive renovations on the building as part of the Merepark redevelopment are completed, but I’ll send Piers Morgan flowers by post if that happens.

People will mutter that this is the price of progress, and though it’s happening for different reasons the closure reflects the difficulties other parts of the city centre are experiencing.

Decreasing footfall spells trouble for areas like Lime Street, Clayton Square and St John’s market, a part of town rapidly becoming dirty, congested and fundamentally unpleasant.

Merepark’s Central Village, which will include the Lewis’s building, is set to redress the cash drain towards Liverpool One, but it’s not clear to me whether the city can support so many different retail/leisure/lifestyle hubs – is there genuinely enough cash being spent to go around Liverpool’s various city-centre areas?

How will the Cavern Walks, the Albert Dock or Met Quarter fare then? And what will the knock-on effect be on Liverpool One?

It remains to be seen, but as this kind city-wide regeneration is predicated on attracting people from other towns and cities it at least makes sense that one of Liverpool’s biggest transport hub gets a makeover.

Stand by for more QParks, Starbucks and Aparthotels. And a fucking massive concrete and glass skyscraper.

Comments

  1. the only way to compete is to offer something genuinely different – other cities do it by having clearly demarcated zones (low rent areas like MCRs Northern Quarter, or Borough Market in London, rubbing shoulders with the swisher Swarovski-type stores) if Central Park is just another me-too array of chain stores and coffee shops, you can kiss goodbye to the character of Liverpool. Lewis’s, of course, was a shadow of its former self (they should never have got shut of the food hall) but I fear its replacement will be even more soulless. Hope not.

  2. Indeed. I’m not one of those farts that pointlessly decries everything new, but I don’t sense that this is anything other than another generic ‘urban oasis’. And I’m fed up of these indentikit developments.

    I only go along with Liverpool One on the balance of probability that its good points outweight the negative.

  3. Well I’m fairy excited to be honest.

    One area, for me at least, that Liverpool lacks is choice and I think developments like this, within reason, show the progress the City Centre is making in terms of offering something a little different even if the different is just a different location within the City Centre.

    What it absolutely has to get right is the choice of stores, coffee shops, restaurants it has there for it to compliment what we already have in Liverpool One, et cetera. I’d put good money on there being a massive Tesco in there though regardless of what else is there.

  4. I think it is such a sad loss to the city, and infact the whole of the North of England that Lewis’s is closing – It already contains lots of local family independent run brands such as F.A.B@Lewis’s on its 1st floor – What will happen to them?

  5. Very sad to see that the old Lewis`s is finally closing down,going the same way as all the other grand old fashioned shops the likes of Owen Owen, C&A, Littlewoods, Blacklers and of course good old Woolworths.
    Never to see the likes again.But never forgotten by all the people who worked in all these once famous shops!

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