Work starts on major new scheme in Coventry city centre

From left: Peter Deeley (Deeley Group)., David Cockcroft (Coventry City Council), Cllr Ann Lucas (Coventry City Council), Dennis McEachern (George Downing Construction), Paul Houghton (Downing).

Ann Lucas, the leader of Coventry City Council, believes work starting on a key mixed-use site in Coventry city centre is a “vital step in the city’s regeneration”.

Development and construction firm Downing has started work at Belgrade Plaza as part of a £50 million development of the former car park site.

The company is creating 12,000 sq. ft. of retail and commercial accommodation, 42 apartments and 600 student bedrooms on the former surface car park between Hill Street, Bond Street and Ryley Street.

Work is expected to be completed in time for the start of the academic year in 2017.

Cllr Lucas was given a bird’s eye view of the scheme as work got underway and said she was confident that the last phase of the site – owned by Belgrade Plaza Partnership – would also attract development in the near future.

She said: “Belgrade Plaza is a key site in the city centre. The first phase which, saw the arrival of the Premier Inn and the adjoining restaurants has proved very successful and this development will only further stimulate this area of the city.

“Seeing Belgrade Plaza developed out is a vital step in the regeneration of the city centre and it will be great to see it happening at pace before opening in 2017.

“Hopefully work starting on this development will act as a catalyst on the last phase and a scheme will be brought forward.”

Paul Houghton, development director of the Liverpool-based firm, said: “We have been very impressed with what we have found in Coventry. Apart from the two-award winning universities – which are obviously key to our scheme – we have been impressed with the level of city centre regeneration both currently underway and also planned.

“We believe we will be adding to that wave of regeneration and that our scheme will further improve the student experience in the city centre and bring a very welcome economic impact for local businesses.”

Belgrade Plaza Partnership first began developing the site in 2006.

Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, which part owns the Belgrade Plaza Partnership, said: “Downing starting work on its scheme adds to the momentum on Belgrade Plaza. JD Gyms has had a massively successful opening, the hotel and restaurants are trading well, and now this scheme is now underway.

“We are in talks for the remaining phase on the corner of Upper Well Street and the Ring Road, and we are confident they will come to fruition in the reasonably short term.”