WORK has started to demolish Coventry’s landmark former Royal Mail sorting office – and pave way for a £73 million regeneration.
Coventry University and Barberry Developments are planning to transform the site in Bishop Street.
They are due to submit plans this year to create student accommodation buildings, courtyards and gardens – and retail units.
Demolition is set to be completed by February next year.
Coventry University’s deputy vice-chancellor David Soutter was joined by the Deputy Lord Mayor Lindsley Harvard as work began.
Mr Soutter said: “We will be bringing forward a planning application in due course.
“It is well documented that this site has been empty for the last four or five years, but we believe our plans will see a total transformation which will bring not only a vastly improved environment but also some much-needed vitality and activity.
“We want to provide a range of high-quality accommodation for around 1,200 of our students.
“We want the area to be a fully-integrated part of the city centre so we will be including some convenience-style retail which will be available to everyone.
“The student facilities will include a staffed reception, open multi-use areas, study areas, seminar rooms, a gym and laundry room.”
The university hopes it will be completed in time for the new 2018/19 academic year.
Cllr Harvard said: “This is a key site in the city centre which is highly visible. We are confident that the university will be proposing a scheme which not only befits this landmark location, but also brings some much needed regeneration.
“Not only will the area look and feel far more vibrant, it will also act as a link through to the Canal Basin which has become slightly isolated while this site has remained vacant.”