Councillor Ann Lucas, leader of Coventry City Council joined forces with 21 year-old Morgan Emslie from the council’s Business Services Team, to help break ground at the site of what will be Coventry City Council’s new office. Council representatives and the development partners involved in Friargate Coventry LLP joined the project team at the groundbreaking ceremony, during which Cllr Lucas was presented with framed artwork of the new 13-storey office building.
Cllr Lucas said: “Breaking ground on our new offices with Morgan, who represented the entire council staff, was a brilliant moment. Friargate is such an important scheme for the city, essentially acting as a gateway to welcome those arriving y by train. As a new business district for Coventry, Friargate is set to create over 15,000 new jobs and further transform the area around the station.
“We want to be a top ten city once again and developments like this, and the jobs and investment they create, will help us get there.
“This first building sets the standard and, while it’s important for the council to provide state of the art accommodation from which to serve our city, it’s also vital for Coventry to see work commence on a scheme that will drive employment and inward investment.”
Stephen Reynolds, of Friargate, said: “Friargate has become a labour of love for all involved. Getting to this stage has been a complex process of land assembly, demolition and planning; so it was fitting that the sun was shining as the ceremonial shovel broke ground. We are now looking forward to the delivery of this building and the further buildings and phases of the development to follow.”
As the inaugural building for the three million sq ft regeneration scheme, the ground-breaking ceremony marked a seminal moment for Coventry, representing the vision for Friargate which will transform a 15ha site between Coventry railway station and the city centre.
Designed by internationally renowned architects Allies and Morrison, the striking 13 storey, red bricked office block will be available for occupation in 2017 and will accommodate many of the Council’s office based staff.
Elsewhere on site, work has begun on demolishing the 15 storey Station Tower which has dominated the skyline in the area for so long, as well as continuing the initial public realm works to introduce new landscaped pedestrian links into the city centre from the Grade II listed train station.
Friargate will be Coventry’s attractive new business district that will deliver economic, physical and social benefits to the city. It will comprise 25 new buildings including Grade A offices, two hotels, homes and retail units alongside greatly enhanced public realm that will prioritise the pedestrian. Bowmer and Kirkland are overseeing the construction of the site.