Coventry City Council is set to invest in the Friargate Business District in order to speed up the delivery of the planned second building and help ensure the future of the development site.
Under proposals that will go to Cabinet and then Full Council in early 2018 it has been recommended that the Council forms a new company in equal partnership with the current owners – Friargate LLP – to build the second building at the site next to the railway station.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said:
"I believe that by setting up a new company, there will be a number of benefits to Coventry citizens and tax payers. The first, and most important one, is that it will create jobs for local people. Secondly, the business rates from lettings will come to the Council and be invested in critical frontline services. And thirdly, we will be able to drive the project forward via a very sensible public/private partnership.
“By entering into a partnership with Friargate LLP and investing cash from the West Midlands Combined Authority we will be able to guarantee that the second building gets underway and gets underway quickly. Then we can start looking at making the next buildings happen too.
“We already know that Coventry is a fantastic destination to do business in, and our investment in the scheme shows our confidence in securing its continued success. This site is located next to the fastest growing station outside London and I believe that if we build the second building investment will follow. We have a great offer and once we are a partner I will be pushing for things to get moving straight away.”
The Council is preparing to take on 50% of Friargate LLP in order to drive the regeneration of the area forward and ensure that investment into Coventry continues.
As part of the West Midlands Combined Authority investment programme, £150 million was identified to fund regeneration in Coventry. It is proposed that £51 million is allocated to Friargate to build Two Friargate – the second building adjacent to One Friargate.
Cllr John Mutton, Cabinet member for Finance, said: “We’ve said for a long time that Business Rates will help us to fund frontline services, so getting this development going is important for regeneration and job creation for local people but also to help fill the funding black hole created by government. I’m pleased that we are taking these kind of innovative steps – and even more pleased that we can do this using mainly external cash.”
Cabinet is recommended to approve entry into a 50/50 joint venture partnership with Friargate LLP across the whole Friargate development to bring forward the speculative second building as quickly as possible.
Owen Kirk, joint owner of Friargate LLP, said:
“It is good to see Members take such an innovative approach to help deliver the Friargate scheme. By forming this public/private partnership, we can bring our human and financial resources together to expedite progress on this transformational development. This investment shows the great faith that Coventry City Council has in the future of Friargate and the city itself. With 25 buildings planned for Friargate, the new retail centre at City Centre South in the pipeline and the City of Culture year approaching, Coventry is now in the middle of an unprecedented renaissance and we are very proud to be a major part of it.”