The new boulevard that is set to be the bustling heart of Coventry’s Friargate district and an attractive walkway between the train station and the city centre opened today.
Council Leader Ann Lucas, and Owen Kirk of Friargate Coventry LLP, marked the major milestone by cutting the ribbon on the tree-lined boulevard using a giant pair of silver scissors.
They also unveiled a striking new hoarding - which acts as a border between the construction site and the Square - featuring Coventry people describing why they love the city.
Guests and members of the public then had a chance to explore the new space which features more than 200 trees, stone benches and seats.
They also got to meet The Hedgemen - two living trees who walked up and down Station Square posing for photos and providing tree hugs - and sampled complimentary milkshakes, fresh coffee, pulled pork and quesadillas from a variety of street traders who are set to become a regular feature.
Cllr Lucas said: “It’s a great honour to have been asked to cut the ribbon to open this impressive new boulevard connecting our city centre to the station. Friargate is transforming Coventry – creating jobs, regenerating the city centre and helping us to become a top ten city.
“It’s exciting to see the building that will become the offices for our Council staff taking shape. And this boulevard is giving us the first real look at the quality we can expect from the whole development.
“With over 200 trees and the use of top quality materials it really will help us to set a new standard of design for Coventry. Of course it’s no less than the city and the people who live here deserve – and one we will expect other developments to live up to.”
Stephen Reynolds, Friargate Coventry LLP, said: “It is a rare moment and a cause for celebration when new public spaces are created in our cities. The public realm in Friargate is designed by international Landscape Architects Gross Max and made from the highest quality materials including grey granite and Dutch clinker brick; it will provide a most pleasant route into the city for the average 17,000 people using the station each day.
“More than just a connecting route to the city centre, we hope it will become a meeting point, an attractive place to dwell and a hive of activity, with street food operators and performers set to make regular appearances.”
Covering 37 acres, Friargate is a new business district in the city that will create up to 15,000 jobs. Among the 25 new buildings to be delivered, will be 14 new office buildings, hotels, shops and restaurants in addition to new homes that will bring the community to life.
The scheme is making rapid progress since work began in 2014, with work on the Council’s new 13 storey office building well underway.
Live progress of the Friargate regeneration can be seen on a time-lapse camera on the Friargate website: www.friargatecoventry.co.uk.