New city hotel could create arts and conference quarter

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Developers behind the plan to transform the former Coventry Telegraph building into a 1950s style boutique hotel have revealed that the complex could create an arts and conference quarter in the city.

Complex Development Projects are working with the Belgrade Theatre to explore the possibility of the hotel’s conference facilities doubling up to provide screening of theatre and opera as well as art-house films, dramatically increasing the range of venue sizes in the city.

CDP, owned by Coventry brothers Ian and Brian Harrabin, completed the purchase of the redundant building on Corporation Street from Trinity Mirror at the turn of the year and have been working on plans to create a hotel that celebrates Coventry’s architectural rebirth after the war.

The brothers – who created Electric Wharf, Priory Place and Fargo Village – are hoping to apply for planning consent later this year to allow for work to start in 2018 and the complex could be operational in time for City of Culture 2021.

Plans for the new hotel are being showcased at MIPIM – the largest commercial property show in the world – this week as part of the major regeneration plans for the city centre which include City Centre South and the station development.

Ian Harrabin said “The Belgrade is already used for conferences but suffers from a lack of smaller rooms for break out meetings that are essential for any major event.

“Venues have to be flexible these days and by keeping them in use from morning to night you derive the most income from all of the back-up café and restaurant facilities.  Rooms could, for example, be used for conferences in the day and art-house cinema in the evening.”

“The hotel will be different to anything else in the city and region.  Hotels in London such as the Hoxton have become central meeting places for the creative community.  It’s not just about beds anymore.  Combining the hotel with arts and conference facilities is the logical next step.   There are hotels in London with exclusive private cinemas, but nothing like this.

“The ground floor of the hotel will be an informal gallery of the city’s 1950s architecture and hub for creative businesses alongside all of the normal hotel facilities – it will be a special place that is open to everyone not just hotel guests.”

Harrabin, whose company is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership, said the hotel would have in the region of 100 rooms and was not aiming at the very top end of the market.

He said: “The concept follows the recent trend of the boutique budget hotel, providing a unique experience but at an affordable price.  There will be some premium rooms which will make the most of the existing building’s features, but most of the rooms will competitively priced for those that want a bit of style.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership is made up of leading companies and organisations which fund the area’s presence at the show.

Key development and investment opportunities are highlighted through a series of key events as part of a UK Midlands presence at the event.