Go-kart track for L1 Debenhams?

A new report claims Liverpool ONE owner Grosvenor is considering plans for a go-kart track to be installed inside the former Debenhams store which closed in May. Tony McDonough reports 

Former Debenhams store in Liverpool ONE. Picture by Tony McDonough


New plans for the former Debenhams store in Liverpool ONE could see a go-kart track installed in the building.

Place North West is reporting that Liverpool ONE owner Grosvenor has asked Liverpool City Council for consent to convert half of the 185,000 sq ft department store for use by an unnamed leisure operator.

The report says Grosvenor is working with design practice The Studio and planning consultant Avison Young to develop the proposals that could see the go-kart track and associated leisure facilities located on the first and second floor of the building. The lower and upper ground floors would be retained for retail use.

When the £1bn Liverpool ONE complex opened in 2008, the 180,000 sq ft Debenhams store was joint flagship tenant, along with John Lewis. Both outlets are at either end of South John Street.

However, after several years in survival mode Debenhams finally collapsed into administration late in 2020. Online retailer Boohoo bought the Debenhams brand and website for £55m in January but not the physical stores. The Liverpool ONE outlet closed its doors for the final time in May.

In an interview with LBN earlier this year, Liverpool ONE’s new estate director, Iain Finlayson says he was confident that complex owner Grosvenor would ensure the space occupied by Debenhams would not stay empty for long.

“Obviously it is a big space… there are probably only four or five retail names in the country who could fill that kind of space,” said Mr Finlayson. “It could also be split up into two or three units. If necessary that is what the landlord may do. They are clear they are here for the long term and are always willing to invest in the estate.”

A spokesperson for Grosvenor told Place North West: “No decisions have been taken at the moment regarding the future use of Debenhams. We are exploring a variety of uses for the former Debenhams store, including leisure.”

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