An internationally renowned organisation is set to relocate to Coventry’s landmark Friargate development.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – the world’s leading professional body for setting standards in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure – has agreed terms with developers Friargate Coventry LLP to locate its new UK operational headquarters on the city’s transformational development adjacent to Coventry railway station.
The RICS plans to lease 36,000 square feet of the second, high quality building to be built on the Friargate development. With a total of 100,000 square feet of Grade A office space available in the new building, this will create a further 64,000 sq ft of speculative office accommodation for release to the market.
The entire 37-acre Friargate development will, when fully completed, bring up to 15,000 permanent jobs to the city and another 7,800 jobs in construction. The Friargate scheme will create Coventry’s first ever business quarter with vibrant new public realm linking it directly to the city centre.
Stephen Reynolds from developers Friargate Coventry LLP said: “Friargate has now moved from the drawing board to delivery with the infrastructure works underway and work on the first office building due to commence within months. With its low-energy, low-carbon estate strategy, Friargate is the leading commercial development in the sub-region and is set to become nationally important as the market starts to recognise the locational advantage, by rail and by road.”
“It is wonderful news that RICS has chosen to relocate to Friargate and it affords us the opportunity to deliver much-needed speculative office development into the region.”
Sean Tompkins, chief executive of RICS, felt the attitude and professionalism of Coventry City Council and the Friargate team was a key factor in their decision to locate their new UK operational headquarters in the city.
He said: “We already have a significant office in Coventry – but to be able to move to such a central location and be part of one of the most ambitious business-district schemes in the country is incredibly exciting. The new building will also represent a continued RICS commitment to a more sustainable future as well as reinforcing our desire to being a responsible employer to the Coventry community.
“It has been a pleasure to work with such a business friendly, entrepreneurial and proactive council leadership and their ‘can-do’ attitude has been a major attraction for us.
“At RICS we are keen to continue our strong relationship with Coventry and believe our new building will be a fitting destination for surveyors from across the country and indeed the world. It will connect, complement and support our global headquarters on Parliament Square, London.”
Work on the new RICS building is expected to start in 2015 and will create an additional 65,000 square feet of speculative Grade A office accommodation.
Coventry City Council has already committed to the first new office building that will, from late 2016, provide a home for 2,000 local authority employees. Councillor Ann Lucas, Leader of Coventry City Council, said the RICS announcement was a major achievement. She said: “We are determined to make this city great again – and I’m delighted that our boldness and aspiration for Friargate is beginning to pay off so soon after we first announced our decision to take new Council offices there.
Sir Peter Rigby, Chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, also welcomed the announcement. He said: “It is excellent news and helps in the bigger picture of driving local economic growth and supporting projects that will boost the economy across the region.
“Coventry and Warwickshire LEP has played an active role in getting this project off the ground because we know it will bring massive benefits to the sub-region.”