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The best news for the city since Ikea.

COVENTRY councillor Dave Arrowsmith said the Radisson Edwardian's arrival was proof of the city's "pulling power".

Cllr Arrowsmith, the city council's cabinet member for urban regeneration and regional planning, said: "A few years ago a company like Radisson wouldn't have thought of coming here, let alone making us their first venture into the Midlands.

"With Ikea, the Belgrade Theatre expansion and the impressive Belgrade Plaza this part of the city centre will change beyond recognition."

Liz Millett, chief executive of city centre management company CV One, said the hotel chain's arrival mirrored the "growing stature" of Coventry.

She said: "It marks a significant step in the continuing regeneration of the city and reflects Coventry's status as a leisure destination and city for international business."

Peter Walters, head of economic development at CV One, said he could see huge spin-off benefits for the city centre as a result of the Radisson's arrival.

He added: "It's the best news since Ikea, and is another piece in the jigsaw of a new Coventry that is beginning to emerge."

Radisson's parent company is Carlson Companies Inc - one of the world's largest hospitality businesses.

It has an annual turnover of more than pounds 22 billion and operates in 140 countries.

Home furnishing giant Ikea started work on its site earlier this month.

It is one of the first stores constructed by the Swedish firm in a UK city centre, and will be built on the site of the former Co-op store in Queen Victoria Road.

The seven-storey building will also have a cafA, restaurant and - at a total of 230,000 sq ft - it will be about the same size as the West Orchard shopping centre.

The on-site car park has been closed to allow the work to start, and Ikea is expected to open its doors for Christmas next year.

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BIG CHANGES... Cllr Dave Arrowsmith
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 30, 2006
Words:313
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