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Historic Cardiff Bay buildings to be renovated

Credit: Cardiff Council

Two of Cardiff Bay’s finest heritage buildings – which have lain vacant for 20 years – are now set to revitalised and regenerated.

In late 2020 Cardiff Council bought Merchant Place/Cory’s Buildings on the corner of Bute Street and James Street. The Council’s intention was to safeguard the buildings as part of its plans to regenerate the Atlantic Wharf/Bay area, and to find a private-sector partner who could buy the properties from the Council and bring them back to life at no cost to the taxpayer.

Now Cardiff Council’s Cabinet will consider a report on Thursday, October 13, which recommends the Council sells the buildings to Dukes Education, owners of Cardiff 6th Form College, currently based on Newport Road.

The recommendation follows a marketing exercise which saw four bids for the buildings come forward that would have enabled the Council to recover the money it spent acquiring the properties.

Cllr Russell Goodway, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, said: “The proposal will allow the Council to fully recover its initial investment. It will lead to the heritage buildings being fully restored and will deliver a vibrant scheme that fits well in the local environment and supports the Council’s strategy for the area. Dukes Education will deliver an owner-occupier scheme, reducing the level of development risk compared to schemes that rely on securing tenants. The international nature of the college could also provide a boost in terms of attracting international visitors to Cardiff Bay, but our primary concern has been to secure a solid scheme that gets the buildings regenerated.

Although the Cardiff 6th Form College mainly attracts students from overseas, it also offers around 21% of places to students from Cardiff and the surrounding area, most of which are provided by the college’s scholarship scheme and are 100% subsidised.

Cllr Goodway added: “The proposal for the Merchant’s Place/Cory’s building will see the historic buildings totally upgraded for use as teaching accommodation with ground-floor activity including a coffee shop. The site to the rear of the buildings, off Docks Lane, will be developed to provide a proportion of the College’s residential accommodation requirement. A second site has also been secured on Pierhead Street to deliver the remaining residential accommodation.”