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All change - Part Two

Credit crunch? What credit crunch? City goes mad for shops as Liverpool One opens

Published on June 2nd 2008.


All change - Part Two

IT'S a lot of shops. Some old some new. It's a lot of gleaming glass, equally gleaming people and even more gleaming fashions. It's retail therapy like you have never seen before (not before yesterday in Liverpool anyway) and the first phase is now open. Liverpool is now swept up in a feverish charge to the changing rooms in all-new Liverpool One.

A postal area for a name? Is that allowed? Sure. It's easy and memorable. The Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor have worked around the clock for the past year to deliver this on deadline, money no object. But Liverpool One is only a bit of the story.

Gerald, to his friends, owns this massive swathe of city centre land, 42 acres, the largest, privately owned piece of real estate in a town centre anywhere in Europe, apparently.

Confidential joined the massed media throngs on Thursday morning for a canape at Room, an early morning flirt for Gordo with Liv One's marketing manager, Hilary Kinsella, followed by a stroll down the street to the corner of Lord Street (still owned by the city) and South John Street.

We were treated to aerial acrobats and breakdancers on a very red stage, but first a word from Lord Home, Grosvenor chairman, and council leader Warren Bradley. The two were joined by the Paradise Project's supremo, Rodney Holmes, not to be confused the aforementioned Lord Home, and the ever lovely Joanne Jennings, chief exec of L'pool One.

Phil Redmond, as they say on Big Brother, was nowhere.

It was truly a joyous occasion. The council leader, who we do not see often speaking to the general public in the street, nor Lord Home for that matter, said that Liverpool was no longer the poor relation of shopping, that there was a new fire station too, and that it was great and that "every biddy" in the centre has anticipated this for decades.

Indeed. Moments later 200,000 of us were let in to the stunning new development for the first time, ever. But every biddy in the city was to be disappointed: There was no Edinburgh Woollen Mill to be found anywhere.

But there were plenty of new faces on the shiny new blocks and as we trawled the pavements, brand new and free of the chewing gum and spilled liquids that so signify lesser streets in the city, we marvelled at this piece of regeneration that has also seen shops like Gap and Zara relocate from their Lord Street/Church Street stores and into Liverpool One.

And don't even think about spitting out your Wrigley's Juicy Fruit while carrying that Juicy Couture bag, while wandering down the all-new Paradise Street. It's not allowed.

With a cheery wink, Warren refused to tell us what he would be buying first. Everyone was smiling. Joanne Jennings was grinning from ear to ear as the populace flooded the place like a river bursting its banks.

Everybody loves shopping and on Thursday the city had a ball as the tills went ching-ching. Hey big spenders!

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30 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Tarleton StreetMay 30th 2008.

Yes, London Road, and the Lib-Dem Council could once again neglect to collect the rent for their pitches! Still, it's only public money!

Secret shopperMay 30th 2008.

I worry terribly about what will happen to the empty stores now that they have all moved into Liverpool 1. What will they become, all these Gaps and Zaras and Oases? Charity shops?

Tarleton StreetMay 30th 2008.

I wonder if those eyesore market stalls that blighted Church Street for nearly two decades in the face of popular public disapproval (but under the protection of their sinister Lib-Dem godfathers in the City Council) will come back now all the holes have been filled in? Have they just been signing on all this time?

Margaret MeldrewMay 30th 2008.

I took a walk around the city centre today and still the place was awash with people carrying Primark bags. It seems that the pound is still king for us happy shopping scousers, never mind who has to work in appalling factory conditions for no money etc

Lord StreetMay 30th 2008.

'Blow' sir? 'uo and down lord Street?' How DARE you sir!Now who are all those red-faced old men in the photographs?

Biddy BaxterMay 30th 2008.

It's really lovely in the Debenhams and great that this has all come at last.

KnowledgeableMay 30th 2008.

Ah, you've seen the picture of the Liverpool Confidential team on Facebook then?

Joan BonkerMay 30th 2008.

Here Gordo, is that Joanne Jennings the princess in the picture top right (on the right)? She looks like a gorgeous version of Jamie Redknapp's wife. What was she called, Louise or something?

Stanley StreetMay 30th 2008.

I can’t understand what all the fuss is about. Yes they are shops and yes the building site is regeneration but apart from Liverpool’s first Debenhams, what is all the brouhaha for?It is ONLY a shopping centre after all and Liverpool (even in the “basket-case” times in the 70s and 80s before it was “turned around”) had many more department stores than now: Binns, Blacklers, George Henry Lee, Lewis’s (when it was upmarket), Owen-Owen, Littlewoods, C&A, as well as British Home Stores, T.J. Hughes, a huge (and Britain’s first ever) branch of Woolworths, a big Marks & Spencer and a huge Boots with five floors on the corner of Hanover street that sold everything but clothes and shoes.We also had lots of proper specialist shops – cutlers, gunsmiths, spec*alist electrical retail and repairers, antique dealers, wine merchants and craft businesses such as tailors, watchmakers, cabinet-makers and French polishers, etc. – I see none of these shops in the glossy leaflets for the so-called “Liverpool One”I think it is nice to have our first Debenham’s (but it’s not a Selfridge’s though, is it?) and much of the rest are shops we had already but which have abandoned sites in Church Street. Perhaps the City Council’s ‘Member for Degeneration’ Mike Storey will pay a contractor a tidy sum of public money to blow artificial tumbleweed up and down Church Street and Lord Street for the rest of 2008?

GordoMay 30th 2008.

That Joanne Jennings, dead fit she is....

Lord StreetMay 30th 2008.

I'm not surprised with what he's got on his conscience! I meant those characters in sunglasses and minus ties leering at the camera, they look like a bunch of costermongers on holiday

rob roy fingerheadMay 30th 2008.

I tried smoking skunk once - it gives the animal a very gamey flavour, rather like roasted squirrel.

DubiousMay 30th 2008.

Whats going in WH Smith then?

Celeb spotterMay 30th 2008.

No, Joanne Jennings is the lady in the green suit. I can see Paul "Unger the Younger" in those pictures somewhere too.

AnonymousMay 30th 2008.

Good point!

Giddy rascalMay 30th 2008.

It's not allowed to do anything on these streets that the private police force might not like. But then who would? Joey Barton?

Kevin DonovanMay 30th 2008.

To quote the BBC web site:‘But one of the city's leading academics has a stark warning that the city is ill equipped for the tough times ahead. Professor David Robertson, head of the Public Policy Institute at Liverpool John Mores University, is doubly pessimistic with nearly £7-12bn worth of Central Government and European funding due to come to an end. He added that the city's regeneration had been "very frothy, focussing upon tourism, short term spending and increasing spending on shopping. "They are the first things to go in an economic downturn."'And where's The Eagle gone?

Cooper S. BuildingMay 30th 2008.

"River Island"? An island in a river is correctly called an 'eyot'.

Bob Hope, George Bush, etc.May 30th 2008.

Loads of the building workers openly smoke skunk on Church Street and Hanover Street. Are you sure they weren't local?The skunk might explain why the top storeys of the Hope Street Hotel's new extention is all cockeyed and askew!

AnonymousMay 30th 2008.

Gap will be HSBC, Zara will be Ark; River Island will take WH Smiths and H&M will expand in to the space vacated by River Island.

P-e-t-eMay 30th 2008.

Had a wander around today, all looks quite nice, but nowhere I'd be interested in spending any money.I hear there's a new cinema coming soon, but Liverpool would've been better served with some activity based entertainment facilities. A water park, ice skating rink, laser quest etc. Rather than just encouraging even more mass consumerism. I certainly didn't need any more shops in Liverpool.

Rusty SpikeMay 30th 2008.

Erm....everybody DOESN'T like shopping and with the world hurtling towards meltdown the fashionistas would be better served, as they say, by abandoning Primark and boning up on survival skills such as how to skewer a squirrel, skin a rabbit or roast a frog....

ShopperMay 30th 2008.

All the people who built it aren't even scousers. They were all Polish and Scotch I read. What's wrong with local Labour

AnonymousMay 30th 2008.

I've just been up to the new Debenhams and I have to say how flash it looks, although I agree with kevin about it not being enough, esp if there is a recession. Nevertheless, Liverpool girls will always like their clothes I suppose. Just not their coats.

London RoadMay 30th 2008.

Good idea: They could occupy all the newly empty shops on Church Street and Lord Street

Only in LiverpoolMay 30th 2008.

Went round there today and after reading your line about chewy I kept my eyes to the ground. Loads of it on the pavements, already!

Celeb spotterMay 30th 2008.

Do you mean Warren Bradley? he's just bashful?

Eleanor RigsbyMay 30th 2008.

We now have two city centres in Liverpool. The term Liverpool One was supposed to be a ma rketing tool for selling the new spaces, but the idea was always that the Paradise Street scheme would seemlessly join the exisiting shopping centre to provide ONE Liverpool, not a city centre and a Liverpool ONE. No sign of Phil Redmond huh? He was there counting every individual crossing the Liverpool ONE checkpoint so he can add them to his tally of Liverpool 'cultural' visitors.

Stanley StreetMay 30th 2008.

One good thing about this new shopping precinct is that now a pedestrian can walk from Church Street to the Albert Dock by a quick and direct route alongside the new John Lewis. The shops look pretty ropey though.

CliveMay 30th 2008.

David Robertson - what a great visionary. He is, after all, the man obsessed with using public money for great long term investments such as, er, a chess tournament.

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