THE company building the £920m Paradise Street project has asked Liverpool council for more time to complete Europe's biggest retail development.
Developers Grosvenor last night said it would ensure the key retail area, including the anchor John Lewis and Debenhams stores, would still open in the first half of 2008.
But a last-minute hitch involving a partnership deal for two iconic buildings along The Strand will make it difficult for that part of the development to be finished by a January 4, 2009, deadline.
Last night, Grosvenor's project director Rodney Holmes, said the company intended to pull out all of the stops to complete all building work in 2008, when Liverpool celebrates being European Capital of Culture.
Under the original contract between the council and Grosvenor, the company is not legally obliged to open any of its development before 2009.
Following the award of the Culture title, Grosvenor decided it wanted to complete as much of the scheme as possible in the first half of 2008. The alternative would be for a huge hoarding to encircle the entire site as the celebrations took place.
As part of the contract, a crucial document which gives Grosvenor a lease covering the development site is due to be released by the council a year after the completion of the work.