It’s an interesting time for High Streets across the country. The pandemic accelerated the shift towards online shopping and, for that reason, there is no question that big sheds are sought-after by retailers looking to deal with the online demand.
As a result, towns and city centres, which were already having to look at ways of reinventing themselves way before Covid-19, are now having to bring that into even sharper focus.
In Coventry, being UK City of Culture has helped with major investment in public realm that has transformed large parts of the city centre. Artworks are appearing on buildings and in shop windows, and events have been taking place regularly to help draw the public to the city.
When the Assembly Festival Gardens were open in the city centre, it was a great pull and, at weekends, you’d struggle to get a table at many of the restaurants situated nearby with so many visitors looking for pre or post-show meals.
At Holt Commercial, we market many properties in the city centre and, considering the year-and-a-half we’ve had, there has been good interest and plenty of deals done.
We were appointed agents at West Orchards and many will have seen that there are exciting plans to repurpose some of the units, again to bring greater footfall into the centre. There are also further deals in the pipeline which should further benefit the city centre.
What Coventry shows is how important it is to bring together every piece of the jigsaw in order to create places that attract investment, attract occupiers and, ultimately, attract people.
City Centre South is a project that has been spoken about for some time and businesses in the development area are now looking to other parts of the city centre ahead of work commencing.
There is undoubtedly still some nervousness around Covid-19 from both businesses and the public but it’s an exciting time for Coventry with lots of potential to emerge from the pandemic in a stronger position than it was as we entered it.