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£12m Development By Coventry Canal Unveiled

Plans to create a £12 million canal-side residential and commercial centre in Coventry have been unveiled.

Electric Wharf

Complex Development Projects, who are involved in the Phoenix Initiative, plans to convert a former power station off Sandy Lane into 65 loft apartments.

The scheme will also see the construction 18 new environmentally friendly 'ecohouses' on the canal bank and create over 2,000 sq metres of  'new technology' office space.

Electric Wharf will form a new European style 'urban village' called Bishopsgate Green, providing offices and homes built to the very latest in design and environmental standards.

Electric WharfThe proposals are centred upon 400m of canal frontage, a new landmark canal bridge and extended towpaths to the city centre.

The scheme will convert the majority of the Victorian industrial buildings, which date from 1894, creating the first loft-style apartments in the city. The apartments will provide the flexibility to work from home and some will be linked to work spaces.

The scheme is designed to attract new and young companies with a particular emphasis on the creative and IT industries.

CDP has recruited award-winning architects Bryant Priest Newman, the firm behind the acclaimed Sherbourne Wharf and the Ludgate Lofts schemes in Birmingham.

Ian Harrabin, managing director of CDP, said the company hoped to win planning permission in time to start work in the summer, with the first units available at the end of the year.

Parts of the project are dependent on grant aid from Europe and CDP are working with council officers on a grant submission.

Mr Harrabin said:

"Electric Wharf will be something new to Coventry and is a very exciting project. It will be a major step in re-shaping and re-defining the future development of the city.

"The buildings are ideal for this sort of scheme and will allow us to create a fantastic living and working environment. The best of the old power station buildings will be retained and restored creating very stylish and unique living and working spaces.

"People only have to look to Birmingham and London to see the popularity and success of similar schemes.

“We are particularly lucky to find such fine buildings in such good condition and in such an outstanding setting.

“The turbine hall, for example, is a smaller and older version of the building that now houses the Tate Modern by the Thames.

"The apartments will be unique with exposed brick walls and massive steel beams and priced at affordable levels.

“The majority of units will have balconies, many with views across the city. Owners will be able to fit them out to suit their individual requirements but they will include loft features such as high ceilings, bed decks and exposed roof trusses."

On the canal bank, 18 new 'ecohouses' will be use the latest environmental technology and will be constructed with cedar panels. Proposals include solar power, rainwater conservation and very high insulation standards subject to grant support.

The commercial units, some of which will be housed in new buildings, would range in size from 31 sq metres to 651 sq metres.

Mr Harrabin added:

"A great deal of work has gone into making this scheme something different and highly beneficial for the city of Coventry. Quite simply, nothing of this sort exists in Coventry, and Electric Wharf is perfect in terms of it style and location.”

The scheme is on site that is closely linked with the development of the city in modern times:

  • Work started on the power station in August 1894 and the first electric power was provided to Coventry city centre in November 1895
  • Construction work took around a year to complete at a cost of £6,850
  • Water used to feed the boilers was taken from the canal using a pump and then returned.
  • Coal was brought by barge and the site included a wharf
  • The initial area served with power was tiny stretching only from Burges to Hertford St and across to Jordan Well
  • There will be 65 apartments in the new scheme
  • 18 new houses are designed as eco-friendly, depending on grant funding
  • The footbridge across the canal and canal towpaths will open up canal access to a wide community.
  • Some aspects of the projects - the footbridge and the creation of 18 eco houses - are subject to an ERDF grant application.
  • CDP completed the purchase of the site from PowerGen in October 2000
  • CDP is based in London, but two of its directors hail from Coventry
  • It is the company behind Priory Place, a £13 million scheme, which forms a major part of the Phoenix Initiative, containing 85 designer apartments and eight bars and restaurants.
  • The company recently bought the historic ribbon factory off Trinity Street to convert for residential and commercial use
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CWN / BusinessComplex Development Projects / 30 Jan 01

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM