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Daimler Powerhouse named West Midlands winner in RICS Awards

The transformation of an historic Coventry building into a £2.4 million creative hub for the region has been announced as the winner of a top construction award.

The Daimler Powerhouse Creation Centre won the Community Benefit category in the West Midlands at the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards 2022 on Wednesday, May 18.

Led by Warwickshire property, development and construction company The Wigley Group – which owns the site on Sandy Lane Business Park – the project saw the only remaining part of the Daimler car factory turned into the first purpose-built art production facility in Coventry.               

Judges praised the scheme for delivering wide-reaching community benefits as it was announced as a regional winner at a virtual ceremony, with winners now progressing to the live Grand Final in London in October.

James Davies, Chief Executive Officer of The Wigley Group, said: “I am absolutely thrilled.

“It took almost a decade’s work to make this happen, as we started working with Imagineer and Godiva Awakes eight years ago to develop a plan and find the necessary funding.

“It involved a huge amount of partnership working over a considerable amount of time, but thanks to everyone’s efforts we helped to save a dilapidated building which was the last remnant of the country’s first car factory, and create a community facility and a cultural legacy for Coventry’s UK City of Culture year.

“This has been a real team effort from everyone at Wigley as every part of the business has been involved in the project – from property, construction to development – which gives me an enormous sense of pride.

“Well done to everyone involved.”

In deciding the winner, judges said: “This project delivers wide community benefits as part of a culturally significant event for the city of Coventry and celebrates the industrial heritage of the city.”

The Powerhouse building is the only remaining part of the Lawson’s Daimler factory where the first Daimler car was built in 1897, with the rest of the factory destroyed during Second World War bombing.

Through a partnership consisting of the arts sector, community groups, local authorities, the Arts Council and Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, new life was breathed into the building to turn it into a centre of creative excellence.

The facility, which opened to the public in August 2021, is run by Godiva Awakes Trust and Imagineer Productions, providing dedicated, fully accessible space for the production of outdoor and site-specific work.

Its transformation is the first phase of the wider regeneration of the seven-acre site on Sandy Lane in Coventry, with phase two being a new residential-led, mixed-use development, subject to planning permission.