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Major development for Coventry

Martin Yardley

Coventry and Warwickshire is heading to the world’s largest commercial property development and investment show with its longest ever shopping list.

Coventry was recently chosen to be the UK City of Culture 2021, which could see more than £1 billion injected into the city and county economy in the next four years.

A large part of that investment will be development-led, and organisers and Coventry and Warwickshire officials believe that it could include at least two new hotels, new car-parking and the development or expansion of existing city centre buildings.

The area has been attending the MIPIM conference – which attracts around 30,000 delegates from across the world – for more than 20 years but this year will have the largest development requirement.

Martin Yardley, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said the next 12 months would shape what the city would look like ahead of taking over the culture mantle from Hull, which held it in 2017.

“Based on the experience of Hull, we can expect to see more than £1 billion coming into our economy and a great deal of that will be through tourism and visitor numbers,” he said.

“We have to make sure that we are equipped to give everyone who wants to experience the UK City of Culture 2021 a very positive experience.

“We know that the organisers – who did so well to land the honour – will put on a programme which will attract people from across the UK and beyond. We must make sure that the city is not only geared up to cater for those visitors but also to create a legacy which will benefit the city and the county for years to come.

“We believe that we need to see the development of two new hotels and other developments may also include new multi-storey car-parking.

“In addition, there will be considerable investment in public realm but also the redevelopment of existing buildings and facilities.

“For example, we will have created a new water park and 50-metre swimming pool by 2019, so will have our existing listed sports centre vacant and in need of a future use. We would welcome any ideas or suggestions from developers, and we have a very open mind.”

Yardley said MIPIM was perfectly timed to attract investors and developers.

He said: “We have quite a tight window to ensure everything is in place for 2021, and the fact that MIPIM comes just a couple of months after the 2021 decision helps that.

“We effectively have a 12-month window to get plans in place ahead of work starting to ensure it is finished in time, so we are welcoming approaches from developers and investors in the relevant areas.”

Coventry and Warwickshire is represented at MIPIM by a partnership made up of around 20 private sector companies and organisations who help finance the area’s presence at the four-day event.

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