Construction company temporarily changes Coventry skyline for regeneration scheme

The new giant crane on the Friargate site in Coventry which is set to be on site for the next 12 months

The new giant crane on the Friargate site in Coventry which is set to be on site for the next 12 months

Coventry has a new addition to its skyline in the shape of a giant crane as construction by an Irish company on one of the region’s biggest regeneration projects gets under way.

The 98-metre tall tower crane has been installed at the Friargate regeneration scheme ahead of the first phase of development on the site.

Believed to be the tallest freestanding structure in the city, it is eight metres taller than Coventry Cathedral’s spire and even needed Air Traffic Control approval.

The crane is due to stay on site for a year and over the weeks ahead will be busy loading construction materials into the central core of Friargate’s first building, paving the way for the steelwork to start.

The building being constructed is a 13-storey office block, designed by architects Allies and Morrison, which will house a large portion of Coventry City Council’s office-based staff from 2017.

It will be the first of 14 grade A office blocks on the 37-acre development, alongside two hotels, homes and shops. In total the Friargate site will be home to 25 new buildings.

It will feature a mix of commercial, civic, leisure, residential and hotel space.

Stephen Reynolds, of Friargate, said: “The arrival of the crane means that the public will soon be able to see the first building taking shape, paving the way for the rest of Friargate – a business-led scheme that will deliver a vibrant new area around the train station and attract new businesses, jobs and visitors.”

Councillor Ann Lucas, leader of Coventry City Council, added: “I’m delighted to see this huge new crane at Friargate – it’s one of many across the city’s skyline and a real symbol of how much work is under way at the moment.

“Successful cities are always growing and changing and creating more jobs for local people will help us become a top ten city once again.

“Our building is the first at Friargate but over the next ten years or so up to 15,000 new jobs will be created.”

Located between Coventry railway station and the city centre, one of the key aims of Friargate is to improve pedestrian access and create an attractive new gateway to the city.

The scheme is being undertaken by Friargate Coventry, the development vehicle for Cannon Kirk, a Dublin-based property investment and development group.