Heritage hotel plan for newspaper’s former offices

ONE of the most iconic post-war buildings in Coventry city centre could be saved and turned into a unique, boutique hotel following the sale of the property.

The former headquarters of The Coventry Telegraph newspaper in Corporation Street has been bought by Complex Development Projects (CDP).

The refurbishment of the site is the latest in a series of innovative regeneration projects undertaken by the company in the city.

Ian Harrabin, managing director of CDP, plans to preserve the main buildings, the former Telegraph offices, following completion of the purchase from Trinity Mirror Group.

He said: “There is growing recognition of the importance of the city’s post-war redevelopment, when Coventry led the world in the planning of its ‘new’ city centre.  It is an important part of the city’s history and a potential attraction for visitors.

“The minimalist design of the 1950s was a major change from what had gone before and is becoming fashionable again today.

“The Telegraph building is a local landmark and was at the centre of community life for almost 50 years.”

Planning consent has already been given for its demolition, but the firm looked to see whether it could save what was essentially, an important part of the city’s post-war heritage.

“The most surprising thing is the interior – it’s like a time capsule of the 1950s, with the reception area, boardroom and Lord Iliffe’s flat still intact,” said Mr Harrabin.

“Our plans are only at an early stage but the idea is to create a hotel that celebrates the 1950s and Coventry’s story of resurrection. We hope to use the Telegraph’s archives to tell the news stories of the day in a creative way.

“It is especially important in the run up to the City of Culture bid that we celebrate things that are uniquely Coventry. All of the hotels in the city centre are national brands – what we plan is something very different, a one off and a special Coventry place to stay.”

The Coventry Telegraph was based in Corporation Street for more than 50 years before it moved to the Canal Basin in the city in 2012. Since then the building has lain empty. The site also includes large print-rooms that are unlikely to be retained in any development proposals.

CDP is the company behind a range of creative developments in the city including Electric Wharf, the hugely successful conversion of an 1896 former power station into loft apartment and offices and the development of Priory Place in the city centre.

For the past decade CDP has been working on the regeneration of Far Gosford Street with multiple projects including the popular creative marketplace FarGo Village.

“We want to take the same creative approach to the hotel, to make it something special, somewhere where you want to stay for the experience, rather than just a bed for the night. The location opposite The Belgrade Theatre is perfect for this,” added Mr Harrabin.