£10m leisure investment in former Liverpool One Debenhams store

Gravity go-karting experience

Leisure and entertainment company, Gravity Active Entertainment, has announced a £10m investment in the top two floors of the former Debenhams store in the Liverpool One retail centre, along with site owner, Grosvenor.

The 100,000 sq ft active experience scheme is set to open in the fourth quarter of this year

In an evolution of Gravity Southside, Wandsworth, the Liverpool One development will be the first venue to feature an outside rooftop space that will be integrated into the overall experience.

The venue will also house a unique e-karting experience, bowling, urban golf and modern food and beverage offering with a bar concept and live entertainment.

Castleford-based Gravity is building on the increased interest in innovative leisure experiences, with Liverpool One being the company’s flagship in its portfolio of 18 venues across the UK, with further openings on the horizon.

Michael Harrison, co-founder and chief growth officer at Gravity, said: “This is our biggest investment yet and we are delighted to be collaborating with Grosvenor, at a destination that has continued to perform positively despite the recent market challenges.

“As a business, we are getting stronger all the time and we have no doubt that we will control one million square feet of the high street within the next two years.

“Gravity is at the forefront of the trend for more leisure-led hospitality experiences, and has become a household name. We are particularly excited about Liverpool One, as it is our debut in the heart of a city centre.”

He added: “As a company committed to pushing the boundaries of leisure and active entertainment, we can’t wait to integrate other traditional experiences with technology, as we have done with our e-karting experience and AR bowling.”

Alison Clegg, managing director, asset management, Grosvenor, said: “This signing reinforces Liverpool One’s credentials as the UK’s leading retail and entertainment destination. It also makes great sense to be bringing such an exciting concept to Liverpool, as the UK’s most sociable city, it is the perfect home for Gravity.”

Bowling at Gravity

Gravity said it is targeting revenues of £20m this year.

Sales at Liverpool One in 2021 were 11.5% up versus 2019. In addition, almost 40 brands – totalling in excess of 280,000 sq ft – signed, opened or renewed in the past 12 months, with Gravity adding to that total.

Metis and Stärka acted for Liverpool One. Savills represented Gravity.

Liverpool City Council planning committee approved plans for the re-use of the former flagship department store on February 8.

Debenhams closed last May after the retailer’s collapse the previous December.

Property lawyers at Irwin Mitchell advised Gravity on its collaboration with Grosvenor. Property partner James Knowles was assisted by Irwin Mitchell real estate solicitor Laura Jones.