Six years after AGCO moved to its new European Office Facility at Abbey Park Stoneleigh in the UK, the company’s long-time office block at Banner Lane, Coventry was demolished by its current owners, Persimmon Homes on 8 July.
“The Banner Lane tractor manufacturing plant which closed in 2003 and 16-storey office block at Coventry in the UK which we vacated in 2006, were very much part of the history of AGCO’s Massey Ferguson brand and its successful development over more than six decades,” said Richard Markwell, Massey Ferguson Vice-President and Managing Director Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME).
“The Tower Block and the factory site at Coventry formed the centre of Massey Ferguson’s global operations for many years. They played an important part in the working lives of thousands of people, helping to drive the spirit and camaraderie of one of the world’s most famous farm machinery brands which continues to go from strength to strength,” he stated. “2011 was an exceptional year for Massey Ferguson with record results, a host of new product introductions and major sales growth.”
The demolition of the office block is part of Persimmon Homes ongoing redevelopment of the area which has already seen the construction of over 600 new homes with a further 400 properties expected to follow. The land will now form part of an area to be offered to Coventry City Council for the provision of a new school and playing field under the local authority’s confirmed planning agreement.
The Tower Block served the Banner Lane factory site and was occupied by Massey Ferguson and, latterly its parent company AGCO until 2006 when the company moved to a new home some eight miles (12 km) away at Abbey Park, Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. This followed the closure of the factory in 2003 and the consolidation of European tractor production onto AGCO’s manufacturing facility in Beauvais, France, now the site of the largest AGCO factory in Europe and the centre of Massey Ferguson’s Europe, Africa and Middle East operations.
“We can look back at the Banner Lane site with great respect and lasting memories of the role it played in our rich heritage and evolution – it is part of our DNA,” continued Mr Markwell. “While the Tower Block’s demolition is a poignant moment for all of us who have been associated with it, world economics, the markets we serve and indeed, the company along with its products have changed dramatically. As we develop and face different business challenges, like any successful business we adapt to changing environments and ensure that we can continue to grow. We are firmly established at our European Office facility at Abbey Park Stoneleigh, housed in 21st century purpose-built offices where we employ 500 people and which also includes our UK & Ireland Sales and Training Centre.”
“It is pleasing to know that the Banner Lane office block land is being considered as a site for a future school and that the housing development is providing the opportunity for people to get onto the property ladder for the first time. Once again the site will play its part in encouraging some highly positive developments,” he comments
The Tower Block was officially opened by Albert A Thornborough, the then President and Chief Executive Officer of Massey Ferguson Limited on 21 September 1966. At its peak, it housed 500 people including functions such as Sales and Marketing, Finance, IT, Customer Support and Human Resources. In order to accommodate the growing number of employees, the only way to build was up and it became an iconic part of the local skyline.
Massey Ferguson was acquired by the US-based AGCO Corporation in 1994 and remains one of the few truly global brands of farm machinery, distributing its renowned red tractors, combine harvesters and other farm equipment in up to 140 countries. Machines bearing the Massey Ferguson marque are produced at factories worldwide including France, Italy, United States, Brazil, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Japan and China.
“Today, Massey Ferguson has one of its strongest-ever machine line-ups with numerous international awards to our name. We continue to gain market share, providing straightforward, dependable equipment which farmers across the globe can rely on to produce and care for their vital crops and livestock,” says Richard Markwell.