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Rapid’s former home sold to Liverpool One developer Grosvenor Aug 21 2009 by Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Daily Post

LIVERPOOL One developer Grosvenor has bought the former Rapid Hardware site, in Renshaw Street. The company bought the site as part of its deal with Rapid, which has now moved into part of the former George Henry Lee store, in Williamson Square. Grosvenor’s projects director, Guy Butler, said Grosvenor had no firm plans for the site, but was talking to two interested parties about their “very exciting” proposals for it. Rapid Hardware occupied most of one side of Renshaw Street before it moved earlier this month.

The Renshaw Street site is next to the site of Merepark’s £160m Central Village leisure and retail redevelopment, which won planning permission in May. Merepark had been interested in buying Rapid’s buildings.

Mr Butler said Grosvenor had agreed a deal with Rapid to ensure the hardware firm could move in to George Henry Lee. Rapid is leasing the Renshaw Street building until the end of the year when Grosvenor will take full possession. Mr Butler said Grosvenor had only taken on the building because of its links with Rapid, and said it had not had any previous plans to develop Renshaw Street.

He is now talking to two interested parties, but declined to reveal any further details. While the deal may have filled part of the George Henry Lee building, it means another city centre retail landmark is left empty in its place. But Mr Butler said Grosvenor was keen to ensure the Rapid buildings were not left idle. He said: “We love Liverpool. We’ve spent £1bn here. We’re not going to do anything that’s counter-productive.”

Rapid has moved into half of the former George Henry Lee store, facing Williamson Square. The remainder of the building, facing Church Street, is up for sale.

Grosvenor is currently working on plans to develop the site of a former multi-storey car park in Hanover Street. Merepark’s Central Village scheme, based around Central Station and the Lewis’s building, will include new hotels, flats and restaurants based around a boardwalk with a water feature. Merepark director Ian Jones said his company had no further plans to try to buy or develop the Rapid site.