Ikea: Former Coventry store to become arts venue

Ikea: Former Coventry store to become arts venue

A former Ikea is set to be turned into an arts venue after plans were backed by councillors.

The Coventry store closed in February 2020 after the company said it had made “consistent losses” since it opened in 2007.

Plans suggest it will be be one of the largest cultural hubs of its kind in the world.

Coventry City Council has agreed to spend an undisclosed sum to buy the leasehold for the site.

It then intends to spend a further £1.31m to convert the seven-storey building and hopes to open it to the public in August 2023.

Coventry is set to be unveiled as UK City of Culture 2021 in May and the councillor in charge of city services, Jim O’Boyle, said the old Ikea store could play a big part in regenerating Coventry in the long-term and “re-imagining” the city.

The local authority said the venue would be used to display about 8,000 works from the Arts Council Collection and more than 8,500 works from The British Council Collection.

The building, which has 53,904 sq m (580,218 sq ft) of floor space, could also display items from the transport museum and other museum collections currently at Whitefriars Monastery.

It would also free up the monastery for restoration.

David Welsh, the cabinet member for communities, said the move would turn the loss of the Ikea store “into a real positive for the city”.

He said there was a “real opportunity… to elevate culture to a level we haven’t seen in the city in decades”, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Planning permission for the change of use is expected to be approved by the end of the year, with construction beginning in May 2022.

Mr O’Boyle, the cabinet member for city services, said the authority needs to look at opportunities like this, because with more shopping being done online, “we have to find a way to understand and re-purpose¬†our city centres”.

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