University announces 'most significant' campus development in its history
Wednesday 11 March 2015
A deal has been signed which will lead to the "largest and most significant" development of Coventry University since it was founded.
Coventry City Council has agreed to sell four civic buildings between Little Park Street and Much Park Street to Coventry University, which will lead to a major expansion of the University onto the 4.3-acre site.
The deal, which comes a year after the two agreed an exclusivity agreement to allow the University to formulate plans, will see the land developed when the city council moves to its new headquarters at Friargate in 2017.
Detailed plans for the site are still to be finalised, but the University plans to invest around £125 million in a series of buildings which may total up to 375,000 sq ft, and which could include a new headquarters, an international student centre, a research hotel and a business incubation unit.
Professor John Latham, vice-chancellor of Coventry University, said the chance to develop the site offered the University a unique opportunity.
Speaking as the deal was signed at the MIPIM international property show, he said:
This is a major city centre site, which presents Coventry City Council and Coventry University a once-in-a-generation opportunity not only to allow the University to fulfil its potential, but also to make a significant improvement to the city centre.
The development of Friargate and the council's decision to move to it, will allow us to add some key new buildings linking to our current footprint which in turn will allow us to make improvements to the rest of our campus and increase our already extensive integration with business.
Our reputation is growing – and so are our numbers and we have to keep moving forward in what is a competitive market. This site and the development we are planning will help carry us to a new level.
Not only will it allow us to create several new key buildings, it will, just as importantly, give us the capacity to free up and then develop some of our existing sites.
We will be able to create a truly world class headquarters which will give the university a real focal point for students, local people and visitors.
Around a quarter of our students are international, but the services we offer them as visitors to the city and the UK are spread across several locations, and this will give us the opportunity to create a dedicated centre for them.
We have an expanding research agenda which will increasingly see leading national and international academics and researchers visiting Coventry, so the idea of a centre where they can visit, work and share their research also appeals.
While these will bring big benefits to the University, we are also equally aware of the responsibility and need to ensure this site brings benefits to the whole of the city.
It is rare to have a site so central, that can be developed, so we will be ensuring it continues the considerable improvements already made to the city centre environment.
The University – which was voted Modern University of the Year by The Times and the Sunday Times – brings £150 million a year to the city economy, and for every £1 it spends, it attracts a further 68p spend.
It currently employs 4,000 staff and has 23,000 students – figures which will grow to 4,400 and 27,300 by 2018.
The council is set to move to its new headquarters in the second half of 2017, but will continue to occupy the buildings until its new centre is completed.
Cllr Ann Lucas, leader of Coventry City Council, said:
We are delighted to have signed this deal and it is a significant moment in the history of the city centre and the Coventry University.
This is a key site and as a local authority we have to be totally comfortable with the way it is developed and to ensure that it brings a financial return for the city.
Coventry University is a major national and international success but it needs to keep pushing forward. It has, created some new landmark buildings to its estate in the city, adding more than 400 high value jobs in recent times, but this will allow it to move to new level.
Coventry was recently voted 45th in the world for best student experience and the University is a key component of a successful city.
With the advent of Friargate, the development of Cathedral Lanes and now this deal, these are exciting times for our city centre.
That is one of the reasons why we wanted to complete the legalities at MIPIM, so we can tell an international property audience about the exciting potential we have in the city.
For further information, please contact Alex Roache, external press and media relations officer, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 5050 or email email@example.com.