EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FROM Alan Denyer/AWD RESTORATIONS : ‘elephant’ sports & leisure centre building (including squash courts external annexe) Cox St, Coventry CV1 5RY

I wish to be considered as potential purchaser/developer for the above site - with a view to the establishment of a multi-purpose venue, plus residential accommodation - underlining Coventry’s credentials as a distinctive, creative, culturally innovating city.

I aim to achieve this - and promote social well-being - through public participation in local culture displays and events within the building - to include arts, music, heritage - plus hosting of long term community engagement projects such as an indoor skate-park zone.

The scheme’s sustainability would be underpinned by a new 800 capacity ‘boutique conferencing’ facility - featuring state of the art projection and audio.

Scope of works to include a full refurbishment of the sports centre building to facilitate the above, plus demolition of the present squash courts annex to allow for a development of 12 residential studio apartments.

The offer for long leasehold (subject to site inspection/due diligence) is £250,000 - site works to include approx. £0.3M upgrade to the main building to establish a new visitor entrance at ground level on cox st, upgraded heating/ventilation/thermal insulation, conferencing facilities and general re-decoration.

Cost of works associated with the residential element is estimated to be £1M.

AWD Restorations is a trading name I use for sole trading and LLP building restoration and development projects. My wife and I formed the partnership in 2010, for the purposes of completing a £2.5M re-development of two semi detached victorian mansion properties in earlsdon - completed in 2015.

why bother with the elephant - arent there too many problems with it?

contrary t no asbestos -

what do you mean by culture hub - isnt that just for arty people?

how can you get people to visit?

how would it pay its way?

what do you know about refurbishing buildings?


public access to elephant as a popular visitor destination / PR

establishment of boutique conferencing / PR BENEFIT/ SUSTAINABILITY £100K PA.

desirable owner-occupier apartments / POSITIVE CITY CENTRE REGENERATION

dramatic telling of the coventry story /

partnership with coventry skatepark cic

bar/ cafe

music & dj events

high quality art displays / ESTABLISH

elephant brutal copy.jpg


art, history, performance, events

Our vision is to reprise the successful @CETPOPUP arts and heritage initiative, in a new dramatic, permanent setting - the iconic 1976 ‘Elephant’ sports & leisure building on Cox St, next to the old swimming baths in Coventry City Centre.

A vibrant mix of arts and heritage displays - plus big spaces available for performance (music + theatre) - all with the same (‘have fun exploring an amazing building.. ’) central proposition that made The CET Building so popular with the public.

The vision also includes a major new ‘boutique’ conferencing and event hosting facility with a difference; strong 70s theming throughout to match with the striking mid-70s zinc clad architecture on the exterior.. (we’re thinking lava lamps, swathes of geometric wallpaper, shag pile carpet, terence conran ‘egg’ chairs etc) - but all with a distinctly modern twist.

Capital costs to fund an upgrade to the building, and operating revenue to cover ongoing overheads to be via the creation of a new social-enterprise organisation 'CET2 CIC' - overseeing the artspace and events elements, but also several other innovative initiatives including a project to convert and enlarge the existing 4 squash courts annex (which is outside, connected via a short 1st floor link bridge) into 10 x owner-occupier studio apartments. Other revenue opportunities are envisaged from arts & heritage funding, the hire of spaces, in-house bar/cafe, donations, and premium ticketed events.

‘ i can-can’. c/o ludic rooms digital artists.. projection onto zinc cladding walls, underneath the elephant - Imagineers festival 2016

‘ i can-can’. c/o ludic rooms digital artists.. projection onto zinc cladding walls, underneath the elephant - Imagineers festival 2016


Dwindling usage and increasing costs have taken their toll - and with new leisure facilities coming on-line elsewhere in the city Summer 2019, the Elephant sport centre building has an uncertain future. Its fair to say though that many of Coventry’s citizens have a strong attachment to this iconic emblem of the city skyline - and we’re about to begin campaigning with a view to taking it on as a Community Asset - and establishing ‘The elephant’ as a primary destination venue for 2021 City of Culture.

We believe the opportunity exists for an ambitious new usage scheme incorporating these three central themes; a permanent cultural artspace, a 1000 capacity ‘boutique’ conferencing & events capability, and, loft-style residential accommodation for owner-occupiers.

The Coventry Elephant - a culture hub located at the heart of a new, city centre, creative quarter*.

[*other cultural attractions within 1000m include; CU FAH, Ellen Terry Building, The Herbert, The CU Hub Venue, Empire, Drapers Bar, Drapers Hall Concert Venue (under restoration), Fargo, Cathedral Quarter, Coventry Transport Museum]

The concept is for a sustainable multi-purpose arts & mini-museum/heritage facility across the entire first floor space (approx 1600m2 - encompassing the present 30m x 40m indoor bowls auditorium, 35m x 10m ex-shooting range, and 15m x 2m bridge link) - together with elements of the 2500m2 upper second, third, and fourth floors (gym/changing/squash/committee room/upper bar & conferencing). The present bridge-link would be closed off at the swimming baths end to form a gallery space - with primary access into the building provided instead via the present disabled persons doorway/glassed area at ground floor level on Cox Street. The sports hall and bowling areas provide possibilities for larger performance-based events, conferencing, music events, and/or the display of large format visual arts.

Short term funding is envisaged via a £0.5M directors loan from Alan Denyer (the proposed chairman of CET2 CIC) - with a loan facility of up to £2.5M already pledged in principle c/o a major commercial development lender for the proposed apartment construction element.


engaging a new audience: the 'cetpopup' model

(ALAN DENYER - concept originator, and curator)

‘The CET Building’ pop-up set out to get Coventry people into a habit of visiting the city centre for culture. In the first few months many visitors were ex-employees - returning to reminisce, however, as this went so well - we added in extra elements based loosely around telling Coventry’s cultural story so as to appeal to a wider audience. Many in Coventry (including myself!) won’t typically think culture is 'for them' - but will readily visit a building to explore, so I came up with the free admission 'walking tour/ explore the building’ format as a way to get people in - and informally get them looking at (then thinking about) new things along the way - like art, historical films, artefacts.

We’d also purposely swap displays out regularly so as to get a reputation for always having something new to enjoy.

Essentially, the pop-up existed to give free space to anyone doing anything interesting (so that's basically artists, performers, workshop facilitators etc) - opening up opportunities for many original uses. The only proviso being; no closed doors - every use had to have a public facing ‘output’ that visitors would get to see, touch, hear - or even smell. . The 'CET self guided tour' worked phenomenally well as an approach - set up as a series of 'reveals', each making for great photograph, it attracted over 25,000 visitors of all ages during the 1 year opening.

Placing architecture and culture together in a dramatic way that makes folks feel they’ve seen something special - it’s this experience that we want to recreate.. with 'The Elephant'.

appendix 1

statement of support from Coventry University Social Enterprise unit (CUSE) re: the proposed ‘CET2’ Elephant concept’:- (Gabriella Matsoukova, Business Development Manager, CUSE).

'At the heart of the Coventry Culture Strategy 2017-2027 and the City of Culture 2021 is pride of place, its recognition and legacy and architecture has been identified as a key aspect of Coventry's cultural DNA.

'The Elephant' Arts and Heritage Centre offers a unique proposition complementing the existing culture, arts and creative hubs in the city (Warwick Art Centre, Coventry Music Education Hub, The Belgrade Hub, The Herbert etc.). The building's prior use, its community centre focus and pop-up model would limit the barriers that formal cultural and heritage institutions often face in attracting diverse artists and audiences. The CET Pop-up model has enabled artist and creatives from all walks of life - students, individuals, community groups, refugees and migrants etc to bring their art to life. The Elephant will be able to extend its reach to engage and inspire young people across all backgrounds, to engage schools, families and the neighbourhoods through special projects, collaborative exhibitions and performances, thus contributing to the City of Culture 2021 key step changes "Culture closing the gaps in participation and engagement" and "Culture building bridges: diversity and equality".

Given its "sporting history", the Elephant would support innovative practice in arts and mental health through hosting of inclusive arts and wellness programme and community led arts projects that reduce social isolation, aligning with the vision of "new hub for professional and community arts and wellness" described in Coventry Cultural Strategy. The CET Pop-up has been a base for Hope for the Community CIC "gratitude wall community art project", inspired by Coventry University research which has shown that gratitude improves positive wellbeing, resilience and builds friendships. With thousands of contributions, the project has had a positive impact and the walls offer an opportunity for visitors to share their gratitude, to reflect and act as a visual reminder that there is always something to be grateful for, however big or small.

Coventry holds a Social Enterprise City status and The Elephant will be a beacon representing social and creative mission driven organisations in the city. In partnership with CU Social Enterprise CIC (CUSE), a sustainable business model will be developed for the Elephant which will also host CUSE Creative Sector Start-up Offer, a specialist support to budding entrepreneurs from the creative sector including access to funds, training mentoring, IPR advice to build capacity in the City, developing an approach for a cadre of creative arts' entrepreneurs tied into a wider approach for recruiting and retaining local talent, whilst building resilience and legacy.'