We’ve had quite a response to our feature about the planned demolition of Keys Court, and of the damage we fear this may bring to the provision of spaces for Liverpool start-ups: not to mention the loss of one of Liverpool ONE’s most colourful corners. So we thought it right and proper to let Liverpool ONE respond, which, kindly, they’ve done in double quick time.
What is the current design being replaced with, and what will the benefits be?
The refurbishment will form a single storey pavilion building comprising two retail units. The new design will enhance the visibility of the units from Church Street, with transparent and well-lit units that help to draw people into Keys Court and through towards Peter’s Lane. It will also create shop units that suit the requirements of retailers, which the current configuration does not achieve.
The footprint will remain the same and the proposed timber finish will give Keys Court a distinctive identity, giving it a style that is different from the rest of Liverpool ONE. Studio Three, the Liverpool-based architects responsible for the design, have described it as a ‘piece of furniture’ to give the idea of it being bespoke.
Why is it being replaced?
According to a number of the retailers we have spoken to about the units, the zig-zag glazing makes it hard to read where a shop starts and stops. In addition, the reflections make it difficult for shoppers to see inside from the stores. Feedback also told us that the bright colours of the tiles clash with retailer branding and make it difficult for products to stand out against the busy background.
Have the issues with this area have been tenant related, rather than space-related?
No. The refurbishment has been created in direct response to retailer feedback, which is for regular-shaped units that are clearly visible. In addition, retailers would like simple single storey spaces – especially important for small operations that are lightly staffed and serviced.
The refurbishment will create two units that will be easier to use for staff and shoppers alike, which is a key benefit.
Are you still committed to the provision of small, easy in easy out spaces for pop-ups, start-ups and made-in-Liverpool traders?
Yes. Whilst we have two units, rather than three, at 500 sq ft each, they are perfect for smaller independent retailers, or national brands that suit smaller store sizes.
Pic: Studio 3