Coventry City Council has appointed a leading property company to create the City Centre South development and transform the heart of Coventry.
Shearer Property Group was selected by the council’s cabinet to lead the multi-million pound project, which is being part-funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The firm is behind schemes such as Parkway in Newbury and Grand Arcade in Cambridge, as well as the new restaurant quarter at Cathedral Lanes.
The City Centre South development is the next step in the new look for Coventry, following work at Broadgate and the rail station, as well as key sites such as Coventry University and the Council House.
It comes as old buildings are being demolished in New Union Street to create a new water park and leisure centre.
The WMCA is putting nearly £100 million towards the scheme which will transform some of the most out-dated areas of the city centre, including Bull Yard, Shelton Square, City Arcade and Hertford Street.
It will also make the city the second biggest shopping destination in the West Midlands.
The development proposal includes:
• major department store
• three major flagship stores
• up to 50 new retail units
• multi-storey car park
• cinema and other leisure uses
• private and rented residential and student accommodation
• a hotel
The whole scheme will connect the city's much loved, circular market with the rest of the centre and the developer is aiming to open for business by 2022.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s 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.”
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “When you look at all the changes happening around Coventry and see the ambitious plans for City Centre South, it shows there are great times ahead for our city.
“And we are delighted that Shearer Property Group is ready to continue the work it has already started at Cathedral Lanes and bring in more well-known brands to really put Coventry back on the map.
“The whole scheme will be anchored by a new department store which will be built at the end of Market Way, making it a real city landmark.
“Clearly securing the quality of this main store is vitally important – but we are confident that Shearer Property Group will get this right.”
New shops will be joined by a new premium cinema, bowling and restaurants as well as a 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, be met by the developer but WMCA has already approved funding of up to £98.8m to help the project.
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.”
Guy Shearer from Shearer Property Group added: “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.”
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.