The first steps have been taken in creating a new multi-million-pound convention centre at Ricoh Arena with the start of a major refurbishment project.
Work has begun to transform the existing 1,750 square metre conference and exhibition space in the lower halls at the Coventry venue - which will be named Coventry Building Society Arena from this summer – and marks the first stage of construction in the creation of the state-of-the-art Commonwealth Convention Centre.
The three-month project will see the space undergo a significant aesthetic overhaul and the installation of a state-of-the-art digital and audio-visual technology system to provide a flexible, modern and market-leading facility.
The modernisation of the current halls will also seamlessly connect the space to the rest of the venue to give exhibitors and organisers access to up to 7,750 square metres of exhibition and conference space – further strengthening the Arena’s position as a market leader in the exhibition industry.
The newly refurbished halls are the first part of further construction later in the year, with work expected to commence in September.
This will include the pavilion entrance on the south side of the venue, the new Commonwealth Convention Centre lobby and dedicated art and gallery space to showcase local projects and act as a community gathering point.
Transformation of the existing halls at the Arena is funded through the £3.8 million granted to the venue by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), via the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) as part of the Government’s Getting Building Fund.
An additional £1.4 million has also been made available to Ricoh Arena via CWLEP from the Local Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund.
The Commonwealth Convention Centre is expected to open its doors by Q1 2022.
Stephen Vaughan, Wasps Group Chief Executive, said: “This is a major step in the redevelopment of the Arena and signals the beginning of works to create the state-of-the-art Commonwealth Convention Centre.
“This project will repurpose the existing site and bring innovative digital technology to the lower halls that are also being installed across other areas of the venue.
“There will be a dramatic visual improvement to the space which will enhance the overall experience of companies looking to host events with us. The refurbishment will help to seamlessly connect the three existing halls with the soon to be constructed south pavilion entrance, which will create a vibrant and impactful look that befits a market-leading convention and conference centre.”
Sarah Windrum, Chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “This construction work marks the start of the refurbishment of the lower halls which, along with the creation of the Commonwealth Convention Centre starting in the autumn, will be a significant addition to the area’s conference and exhibitions market.
“It is vital we attract delegates to the city and wider region both during UK City of Culture and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and beyond to secure the long-term prosperity of our area.
“That is one of the main focuses of the CWLEP’s Strategic Reset Framework as we reset our economy for a successful, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future.”
PICTURE CAPTION: From left to right – Mark Lee (Chairman of the Arena Quarter Advisory Board), Sarah Windrum (Chair of CWLEP) and Paul Michael (Commercial Director, Ricoh Arena).
Getting Building Fund
On 4 August 2020, the government confirmed the list of over 300 successful projects which will receive a share of £900 million from the Getting Building Fund.
The full list of projects is available on GOV.UK.
The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country. Projects funded include:
- regeneration of town and city centres
- green infrastructure and clean energy
- transport and digital connectivity improvements
- unlocking of housing and business sites
- support for SMEs and learners
The successful projects (over 300) are expected to deliver up to 85,000 jobs, over 1,500,000 sqm of commercial floor space, unlocking 45,000 homes, almost 1,000,000 sqm of public realm or green space improved or created, over 50,000 new learners assisted, and 65 million kgs of CO2 emissions saved.
All projects have been selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities in each area and endorsed by the Housing Secretary
Some Midlands Engine key facts:
- The Midlands Engine is home to over 10.3m people and has a £238bn economy, generating over 12% of the UK’s Gross Value Added. The Midland Engine Partnership aims to close the productivity gap to match or exceed the national average by 2030.
- The Midlands is home to 835,000 businesses, and in 2019, the Midlands accounted for a 22% share of all of England’s goods exports.
Local Growth Fund
Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.
That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.
Some additional key facts:
- There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
- The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.
- LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.
Some Midlands Engine key facts:
- The government is committed to making the Midlands an Engine for Growth in the UK, increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life for everyone. The Midlands is home to over 10 million people and over 780,000 businesses. Its economy is worth £217.7 billion.
- So far the government has awarded £1.9 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Midlands.