When people think of Coventry they tend to think of the perfume factory that was bombed in the war, a naked Lady Godiva riding her horse through the city… or concrete. But times are changing.
Josh Leon, of Davis Coffer Lyons, says that Coventry is unusual in that, until now, there has been no real dedicated food and drink area in the city centre, which has resulted in a lot of potential trade being lost to its satellite towns. But this is being addressed with an unprecedented level of investment and development.
Project Phoenix, the £65m initiative aimed at revitalising the city centre, includes the restaurant-led development, Priory Place, and the late-night drinking-focused Millennium View development.
Coventry has also been chosen by US gambling operator Isle of Capri for its first UK gambling resort, to be built next to the new Coventry City football ground.
A bad image can be hard to shake off, however. When looking for operators to move into Priory Place, Leon admits the company initially met with resistance due to the city's negative image, although "the facts just don't match the perception".
The city boasts a prosperous, young populace, with its student population accounting for 32% of the customers in licensed premises. And the influx of new businesses, such as Marconi, is providing a catalyst to the boom in residential development.
The regeneration will create "huge opportunities" for independent operators, as well as the major chains, to take over existing sites that currently aren't working, says Leon.