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Hunt starts for construction specialist to help transform copperworks

A top class business is being sought to undertake construction work pivotal to the rebirth of a former south Wales industrial heartland.

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The company that succeeds in the Europe-wide competitive tender process will transform a key area of Swansea’s former Hafod Morfa Copperworks site.

They will make the area, including the historic Powerhouse building, ready for Wales’s Penderyn Distillery to expand there and to fit it out as a new distillery and visitor centre.


Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “This will be a high-profile work and we want a top class business to do a top class job there

“The copperworks is a major part of Swansea’s heritage and this site will play a powerful role in our future.

“We’re working hard with the public, private sector partners and others to make the riverside corridor a key to unlocking Swansea’s great future potential.”

Plans for the disused site opposite the Liberty Stadium, include:

  • a new-build visitor centre with shop, tasting bar, exhibition space and toilets;
  • the creation of a distillery, offices and VIP bar in the fully refurbished Grade Two Listed powerhouse building;
  • a new barrel store in part of the Grade Two Listed rolling mill now used as the Swansea Museums collections store;
  • a new-build covered walkway connecting the refurbished powerhouse, new-build visitor centre and barrel store;
  • landscaping;
  • parking spaces.
  • Restoration of the former works gates, porter’s lodge and weighbridge offices.

The distillery plans to open its Penderyn Experience whisky tour on the site. It would educate visitors about distilling and the site’s history and could attract more than 50,000 people a year.

Listed building consent and planning approval are in place and the council secured a £3.75m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for the work, with additional works to other historical buildings in the vicinity funded by Welsh Government Targeted Regeneration Investment funding.

Construction work is expected to take place from the end of this year and through 2020 and 2021, with Penderyn planning to open there in 2022.

The council worked with partners – including Penderyn and Swansea University – to create the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.

The site dates back to 1808, comprises 12.5 acres on the west bank of the Tawe and is linked to the city centre by the new 1.7km Morfa Distributor Road.

In its heyday, copper ore from as far afield as North America, Cuba, Australia and South America was smelted at the site, putting Swansea at the centre of a global web of copper trading connections.

More: Tender opportunity online – www.bit.ly/PowerhouseTender