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Major working and living boost on way for Swansea city centre

Princess Quarter CGI
Well over a thousand extra people will soon be living and working in Swansea city centre in a further boost for traders and local employment.
As well as schemes like the Palace Theatre’s restoration and the 71/72 Kingsway office project being developed by Swansea Council, a number of other developments being led by the private sector are also either close to completion or making considerable progress.
Examples include the Princess Quarter scheme led by Kartay that’s taking shape on the corner of Princess Way and St Mary Street.
The scheme, which is anticipated to be finished by the end of June this year, includes 18,000 square feet of high-quality office space, as well as high-end retail units on the ground floor.
External work including the installation of glass at the regenerated building is complete. Internal fitout and decorative works are ongoing, as well as work to finish the development’s unique rooftop garden.
Discussions are at an advanced stage with prospective tenants after a lot of interest being generated by this Grade A office space.
Other schemes being led by Katray include the redevelopment of six properties on Oxford Street close to its junction with Union Street. Work to redevelop the upper floors including adding two additional floors are ongoing.
The development – once complete – will include 27 apartments to be run by Caredig, as well as refurbished retail units on the ground floor. A number of discussions with retailers are at an advanced stage, with the retail element due to open by the end of this year and the residential element to follow in 2025.
Kartay also has plans to develop the upper floors of the city centre’s McDonald’s and Taco Bell building into high-end residential apartments overlooking the soon-to-be revamped Castle Square. Subject to planning permission, work could start there by the end of the year.
Other Kartay plans include modernising the look of Princess House on Princess Way, with new windows and cladding to be more in keeping with the new Princess Quarter.
Ian Morgan, Managing Director of Kartay, said: “Investment from Swansea Council and the Swansea  Bay City Deal has led to the private sector wanting to get involved in the city’s regeneration – and we all are keen for this momentum to continue because we all want Swansea to succeed.
“The city centre really is improving. We are seeing increasingly more footfall there and you just have to look at the amount of cranes in the sky to demonstrate the scale of regeneration that’s happening.
“Combined with other projects, the schemes we’re leading on will result in even more people living and working in the city centre, while meeting the need for more private rental accommodation there. That can only benefit existing businesses and help attract new businesses there in future.
“Swansea needs to believe in itself and sell what we have here. Very few other cities have a such a fantastic waterfront location being on the gateway to the Gower with all of its wonderful beaches. The city has a huge amount going for it and we need to let the world know.”
Also making considerable progress is the ‘living building’ scheme being led by Hacer Developments at Picton Yard, which includes the former Woolworths unit and a new adjoining 13-storey tower.
The scheme, which is anticipated for completion by the end of the year, will include features like an aquaponics centre, exhibition space, offices and residential space. Also to be included are green walls and green roofs, an urban farm-style greenhouse set over four floors, an educational facility, retail, a landscaped courtyard, rooftop solar panels and battery storage.
Mechanical and electrical engineering works are now taking place at the new tower on site, which will include nine floors of apartments to be managed by Pobl.
The development, once complete, will accommodate up to 500 people, thanks to the jobs and homes it will create.
Carwyn Davies, Managing Director of Hacer Developments, said: “City centres are changing and regeneration now is largely about people. It’s about getting more people living and working in city centres to generate the numbers needed to support existing businesses and attract more businesses in future.
“Regeneration is also about creating improved places – and our scheme, in combination with the nearby 71/72 Kingsway scheme being led by the council, will do just that.
“It’s also about being innovative, and our plans are already raising Swansea’s profile – helping sell both the city and Wales.”
Developed by Swansea Council and part-funded by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal, the former Oceana nightclub site on The Kingsway is being transformed into a high-quality office space for 600 workers. Construction work led by Bouygues UK is due for completion in the coming months.
Elsewhere in the city centre, Cardiff-based Loft Co Ltd are behind the transformation of the Albert Hall on Craddock Street. Due to reopen next month, that development will include a food hall, a performance area and stage, private dining rooms, karaoke, and a children’s play centre. There will also be offices, units geared towards health and lifestyle services, a rooftop garden, a workspace area, a gym, and serviced accommodation for visitors.