The early success at Coventry’s most ambitious mixed-used, city centre development should give a confidence boost to the city.
That is the view of Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, who was speaking at the topping out ceremony of EDG Property’s The Co-Operative development in Corporation Street.
The event was held to commemorate the work so far and to show off the glass roof that will allow natural light into the Midlands’ only development with an internal park area.
The Co-Operative, which is set to be finished by next spring, has been an overwhelming success with 25 per cent of the luxury, high-specification apartments already sold, the first company has moved into office space and the first restaurant – Steakout – has been announced for the ground floor.
Councillor O’Boyle said the property had been the subject of interested developers of student accommodation but said the council was determined that the “building and the spirt of the building” should be retained.
He said: “The Co-Op closed in 2015 and everyone had fond memories of the old department store – I bought my very first flat cap and my first pair of boots for work here! There was something for everyone – but it was of its time.
“We had an offer from another developer to knock down the existing building to turn it into a high rise student block, but that just wasn’t right for this particular site.
“As soon as I met Neil Edginton of EDG and chatted to him about his plans, it made absolute sense to me that this was the right option for the Co-Op building.
“You could see the vision. He was willing to invest his heart and his time in Coventry and also to invest his own money here to do something very special.
“It gives us a massive amount of confidence that developers are ready to invest in our city and this was before, of course, we’d won UK City of Culture.
“This is a massive statement of intent from Neil and everyone at EDG, it’s a massive statement of intent from the city and I am sure this is the first of many great collaborations we are going to work on together.”
Neil said the scheme was attracting strong interest from both a commercial and residential point of view.
He said: “People are very keen to know what’s going on here – it’s a building that is already held with great affection and we understand that.
“We’ve deliberately made life hard for ourselves because we wanted to include elements such as the internal park to make the development extra special and we are creating the highest spec residential units in the city.
“The success so far shows that both individuals and businesses want to be part of that and we are very grateful for all of the support we’ve had.
“This event was a chance to say thank you to those who have supported us so far and to show people where the development is at as we go into the summer.
“We have got 10 months to go on the build programme so, by next spring, we will be here again having a proper celebration of the completion of the scheme.”