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Developer: Complex Development Projects
Where: Coventry, East Midlands
Council: Coventry City Council
Site: canal-side restoration and conversion of Coventry’s original Victorian power station within easy walking distance of city centre

Entrance to the development

'We wanted to do something to keep the building because we thought it would make a fantastic development. Everyone else was looking to knock the turbine halls down and it was very unusual to reuse them'
Developer Ian Harrabin

Showcase conversion of historic building for a community of small creative and IT businesses, living and working in a low energy, high tech environment within easy access of city centre via new, traffic-free bridge over the canal.

Plan of the site

Four-phase development of 68 live/work loft units, 18 ecohomes and 2,600m2 of high-tech offices for small- to medium-sized businesses, created within the shell of the old turbine halls and boiler house, plus an internet cafe. Around 80% of materials from demolished areas reclaimed and reused in its construction, including old bricks and steel

Recycled materials also used where practical, including roofsheets made of aluminium from drinks cans. New build ecohouses will be designed to need minimal heating through use of passive solar gain and high levels of insulation. May also offer grey water recycling and timber will come from sustainable sources. Site retains the original large electricity switch room, but now topped by sedum grass roof, and the natural canal bank, to add to biodiversity

Worktop in a live/work unit

Almost all the lofts planned as live/work but planning stage kept flexible to respond to unknown demand. Units have no formal split of live and work with many have been taken by people in IT and almost all types of office work, plus o­ne artist

38 loft units and 800m2 offices completed and mostly occupied. 628m2 offices and three lofts due for completion in August 2005. Remainder due for completion in summer 2006

Wider regeneration at the wharf

Developer's own funds and loan from HBOS:  £14.6m
European Regional Development Fund:  £1.8m
Advantage West Midlands (RDA): £1.6m
Single Regeneration Budget: £300,000
Developer's contribution includes expansion of scheme from original and cost overruns

Inside the scheme

Lofts sold o­n 150-year leases. Offices either let o­n flexible market rent terms or sold o­n 150-year leases

Hardwired for broadband, internet café, 400m of public space o­n new south-facing canal frontage, lifts in all large buildings for disabled access. New canal bridge and major art involvement in both environment and community engagement

Creative, IT professionals and other home workers. Range from web designers to private investigator, internet dating agency and artist

Sustainability - grass roofs
Website, local publicity, word of mouth

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