Coventrys former Ikea store set to become arts centre

Coventrys former Ikea store set to become arts centre

The UK’s next City of Culture is planning to transform a vacant Ikea store into an arts centre.

Ikea closed its Coventry branch in March 2020, but new proposals could see it become home to national and local artworks and collections.

Coventry City Council will vote on proposals to buy the landmark store in the city centre next week.

The authority said it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for something the city could “be rightly proud of”.

Coventry is the UK’s 2021 City of Culture, and the city council said transforming the Ikea store would deliver a “lasting legacy”.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said it would “bring jobs and skills” to the city, as well as attracting interest “regionally, nationally and internationally”.

“I know a lot of people were disappointed when Ikea took the decision to close the Coventry store,” he said.

“As a council, we said we wanted to look at ways of bringing this landmark building back into use as something special, and I believe this is what this proposal will achieve.”

The seven-floor store would enable some of the city’s collections not currently on display at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, and the Coventry Transport Museum, to be relocated, which the council said would “improve public access”.

Councillors said relocating collections to the proposed multi-million pound arts centre would also provide an opportunity to bring the Grade I listed Whitefriars Monastery back into public use.

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