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Plans revealed for high-tech Swansea building

Plans for a groundbreaking building allowing exciting young tech and creative businesses to grow have been unveiled for Swansea city centre.

They show a glass-fronted structure rising six stories on the site of The Kingsway’s former Oceana nightclub. More than 600 people could work there.

How 71/72 Kingsway could look from a new pedestrian route being created from Oxford Street. Image: Architecture 00.

The plans, assisted by feedback in a public consultation last year, feature two underground levels and a roof terrace with trees. Other greenery, including a green roof, is part of the plans for the building, reflecting the Council’s commitment to green infrastructure. The building’s working title is 71/72 Kingsway.

Swansea Council wants to develop the striking creative hub, with access for the public. It includes a new link from Oxford Street onto The Kingsway.

The building will be high-tech, eco-friendly and have flexible open-plan work spaces including balconies overlooking the city centre.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “71/72 Kingsway will cater for new and existing digital businesses, bringing them together in an ultra-modern flexible workspace environment, generating new jobs and vitality for the city centre.

“We’re talking to potential occupiers already and are confident of demand.

“We thank the public and business for their input so far – and ask them to give us feedback on the new plans that they’ve already greatly influenced.”

The public now has the chance to comment on the plans through an early-stage planning application process known as a pre-application consultation.

It’s online here – www.theurbanists.net/71and72thekingsway – and is open until February 21.

Once public feedback has been taken into account, a full planning application will be made next month (note: March).  If planning permission is granted, construction could start early next year with it opening in late 2022.

An aerial view of the 71 & 72 The Kingsway site. Image: Swansea Council.

The building is one of Swansea’s major regeneration projects now underway and will stand close to the planned new Biophilic Living – an eco-friendly building with homes and commercial space being driven by Wales-based Hacer – if that goes ahead.

71/72 Kingsway’s own environmentally-friendly elements include sustainable drainage and a green wall.

The development – formerly known as the Digital Village – forms part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project being part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal.

Other features of the project include the indoor arena adjacent to the LC, as well as a box village and innovation precinct development for start-up businesses at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David SA1.

The first £18 million of City Deal funding has now been released by the UK Government and Welsh Government, based on the approval of two projects including the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “71/72 Kingsway will be an incredible facility, a beacon for those working in the digital industries and educational sectors.

“It will attract leaders and innovators in those professional worlds to its collaborative and traditional working environments. There will be high quality digital connectivity along with accessible spaces for events and complementary work activities.

“It will be a focal point for local people to visit and enjoy, with cultural activities and potential for an exciting food and drink offer.

“I encourage people to have their say in this consultation and to be involved in this site’s exciting future. Many already have fond memories of the site’s previous uses as a cinema and club.”

The site is located between The Kingsway and Oxford Street at the heart of Swansea city centre. It incorporates part of a former surface car park in Picton Lane and neighbouring access lanes.

Work on the site will complement the ongoing £12m Kingsway transformation which will see this route become a high quality street, retaining traffic throughput but becoming a lot more pedestrian friendly. The idea is to make it an exciting place to live and work.