Coventry names developer in major city centre scheme

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Coventry City Council has approved the appointment of Shearer Property Group to undertake City Centre South development designed to transform the heart of Coventry.

Shearer Property Group, the firm behind schemes such as Parkway in Newbury, Grand Arcade in Cambridge as well as the new restaurant quarter at Cathedral Lanes in Coventry, was selected by council and will lead the multi-million pound City Centre South project.

The development is the next step in the new look city centre, following work at Broadgate and the rail station, as well as key sites around the city such as Coventry University and the Council House.

And it comes as old buildings are being demolished in New Union Street to create a new water park and leisure centre.

City Centre South will transform some of the most out-dated areas of the city centre, including Bull Yard, Shelton Square, City Arcade and Hertford Street and will make the city the second biggest shopping destination in the West Midlands.

The development proposal includes:

· a major department store

· 3 major flagship stores

· up to 50 new retail units

· a multi-storey car park

· a cinema and other leisure uses

· restaurants

· private and rented residential and student accommodation

· an hotel.

The whole scheme, which will form part of Coventry and Warwickshire’s presence at MIPIM, will connect the city’s much-loved, circular market with the rest of the centre and the developer is aiming to have the development open for business by 2022.

David Cockroft, Assistant Director City Centre and Development Services, said: “This is very much a landmark development for Coventry and we are very excited about the scheme proposed by Shearer Developments as it will transform the southern half of the City

“We will work closely with the company to bring forward a scheme which will help reshape our city centre and are already encouraged by the early interest in the scheme from funders and occupiers. As an ambitious city with a thriving economy this is the largest city centre development since the rebuilding of Coventry in the 1950s and will  produce a city centre to match that economy.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “City Centre South is a key part of our plans to create a new, vibrant Coventry and we wanted to be absolutely sure we had the right scheme in place.

“We need to attract major names and bring people back into the city centre for shopping and leisure – in the day time and at night – and this mixed development will transform what is now a tired and dated part of the centre.”

Guy Shearer from Shearer property Group said, “We are thrilled to have been chosen by the City Council to deliver this vitally important regeneration project. This site lies in the very heart of the City Centre and is huge by any standards – about the size of ten football pitches. It finally provides the opportunity to deliver a transformational scheme that will put Coventry back on the map as a retail and leisure destination.

“Our scheme embraces the concept of creating not just a major step change for Coventry but repositioning the City as a true metropolitan destination within the Midlands conurbation that will bring new retailers to the City and attract shoppers from a much wider catchment. Coventry will offer a shopping and leisure experience which can compete with and surpass its neighbours and competitors – a new sense of place that the City can be truly proud of.

“We have been working closely with key officers and members of the Council in the last three years to deliver Cathedral Lanes and have always been impressed with their drive, enthusiasm and professional approach. A project of this scale will only be delivered in close partnership with the City and we very much look forward to playing our part with the Council in delivering this dynamic and progressive vision.”

WMCA finance and investment lead Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: “I’m delighted that the combined authority’s support has helped the council to move so swiftly to get a contractor in place.

“Development on this scale is a significant boost to the wider regional economy as well as transformational for Coventry – I look forward to seeing more.”

New shops will be joined by a new premium cinema, bowling and restaurants as well as an hotel in the leisure part of the development based in Hertford Street and linking to Broadgate Square.

The scheme is set to create around 1,500 permanent jobs, with over 2,000 more during the building work, and, once open, it is expected to generate an extra £20m a year of income to the city.

The cost of the scheme will, for the most part, will be met by the developer. Funding of up to £98.8m to help the project has already been approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Councillors have also given permission for officers to enter into talks with property owners and tenants in buildings needed as part of the scheme.

The public will be asked for their views as part of the planning application process.