A WOULD-BE tenant of Coventry city centre’s flagship Friargate business park next to the station has announced today it is moving to Birmingham instead.
The news from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) comes weeks after it abandoned plans to move into Friargate as its first private tenant, leaving Coventry City Council as the only tenant after more than decade of planning the project for “up to 15,000 jobs”.
RICS is currently based at Westwood Business Park in Coventry and would have been moving around 300 jobs into the city centre.
But it is now moving to the second city up the road, in a symbolic blow for Coventry’s regeneration plans.
A statement today from RICS CEO Sean Tompkins states: “Since April 2014, one of RICS’ organisational priorities has been the relocation of our Coventry operations to a more suitable workspace for a growing global 21st century professional body.
“We have since explored a variety of options including moving to alternative premises in Coventry, relocation to Birmingham, and the refurbishment of existing premises.
“Having carefully assessed each viable option, we can today announce that we will be moving our entire Coventry based operations to new Grade A premises in Birmingham city centre. We intend to complete our move by the end of 2017.
“While we are obviously disappointed that the proposal to move into a new development in Coventry city centre did not materialise in the timescales originally envisaged, we are more than satisfied that our new premises will fit our organisational needs and vision for the future.”
For four years, it had been hoped RICS would be moving into a planned second tower block at the proposed Friargate business park where more than 30 buildings were planned.
The council and RICS’s tenancies were meant to act as a ‘honey pot’ for further companies to relocate to Coventry, in the words of council chief executive Martin Reeves, attracting massive inward investment and boosting the flagging city centre.