Stalled Central Village gets new owner - and a new name....
Looking more stunning than ever, this is how the old Lewis’s Department Store will look as part of a new makeover planned by its new London-based owners.
The Augur Group plans to breathe new life into what had supposed to be Liverpool’s biggest project after Liverpool One, the so-called multi-million pound Central Village project.
Under a new name, Circus, the area will be transformed by Augur, an investment and development company that has spearhead projects from Canary Wharf to Fort William.
Following its acquisition of much of the Central Village site, Augur plan to create a major new retail and leisure scheme centred on Lewis’s and the Central Station area, a site spanning five acres.
The new scheme has been developed in collaboration with Liverpool City Council and Network Rail and takes in 400,000 sq ft of the grade II-listed Lewis's and its retained façade as well the surrounding land.
As part of the regeneration project, Augur has been working alongside Network Rail to enable the expansion of Liverpool Central station to accommodate growing passenger numbers.
When completed, it is envisaged that the site will offer more than 275,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space over five floors. Augur is already in detailed discussions with cinema operators and a number of retail and leisure tenants for the site.
Included in the recent acquisition is the 126-room Adagio Hotel, and 70,000 sq ft of grade A refurbished office space over four floors with 50 per cent already leased to the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and a 25,000 sq ft Pure Gym on the lower ground floor.
The Augur Group is a property investment and development company with a wealth of expertise in active asset-management, development and construction projects, gained during over 25 years in the UK property market.
The company says its team’s strength is taking underperforming or partially finished assets (such as the Lewis’s building) and adding value for stakeholders through improved asset management and effective development solutions.
Simon Mann, CEO of Augur Group, has a history of construction in Liverpool, having been the developer of Unity, Liverpool, consisting of 161 apartments and 150,000 square feet of offices in the city centre. Penthouses sold for £1.5 million each (record breaking at the time).
Mann said: "In developing Circus, we are restarting the regeneration of the Lewis's building, bringing back to life a significant and historic landmark in the city and creating a brand new, mixed-use destination for the people of Liverpool.
"At a time when the city is undergoing major infrastructure improvements we see Circus as a brand new central place for people to come together for retail, leisure and work. It is a prime location where more than 40,000 people travel through daily."
Heritage works are already under way at the site to bring Lewis's back into use.
Much of the site occupied the once Victorian Central Station which was eventually demolished and replaced by the Merseyrail underground network. The station today remains one of the busiest in the country.