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Work starts on £135 million first phase of ‘Swansea Central’

Work starts today (27 November) on the £135 million ‘Swansea Central’ phase one scheme situated on the car park next to the LC.

‘Swansea Central’ phase one will be a new cultural district encompassing a 3,500-capacity arena and conference centre, a 150-bed hotel, new homes, new food and beverage space, a park and a striking pedestrian bridge, that will allow the city to realise its potential to become one of the most exciting places in the UK to live, work, visit and study.

Part of £1 billion of development projects set to transform Swansea city centre.

‘Swansea Central’ phase one is being delivered by Swansea City Council and developed by RivingtonHark, the leading city and town centre real estate transformation specialist. It is being funded by Swansea City Council, with the arena feature of the development being part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal. Phase one is due to complete in mid 2021 and will be anchored by the multi-functional arena and conference centre, operated by the global leader in live theatre, The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG). The venue aims to stage 160 performances a year across comedy, theatre, live music and gaming, attracting over 230,000 visitors per year to the city and positioning Swansea as a desirable destination for both leisure and business.

In addition, the phase one also includes a green wall, which is a vertical garden, and a 1.1-acre park, providing attractive green spaces as well as facilities for outdoor events, plus a hotel and 960 new parking spaces across the development. The ‘Swansea Central’ scheme will take the next steps to connect the city to the spectacular beach with the help of a statement bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea City Council, commented: “The start on site of ‘Swansea Central’ marks a huge step in the major evolution of Swansea. From our spectacular beach and historical landmarks, to our world-leading universities and institutions, Swansea provides a wealth of opportunity that has been undervalued for too long. Alongside the other transformative projects taking place across the city, ‘Swansea Central’ is a missing piece of the jigsaw that will attract more people to the city centre, and greatly strengthen our economic buoyancy. The ‘Swansea Central’ phase one scheme alone is forecast to create over 2,500 new jobs throughout and beyond construction, of which 75 per cent are expected to be filled by local residents. This is just the beginning. Phase two will also see thecreation of a large public sector hub, with the potential to create thousands more jobs in the city centre.”

The wider Swansea City Centre Regeneration Programme will bring further new housing into the city, as well as facilities for learning and business. The Swansea Bay City Deal will also part-fund a new 100,000 sq ft innovation hub on Kingsway with incubation and co-working spaces for small businesses in the tech and creative industries, and a new innovation precinct due to be constructed at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David SA1. This will provide world class, flexible and affordable space for start-ups and students, supporting the retention of post-graduates in the city. Upon completion, these projects will collectively generate an additional £6.6 million household spend per year and £297 million GVA into the local economy.

Mark Williams, Executive Director of RivingtonHark, said: “More than ever, city centres need local authority intervention in order to thrive, and Swansea is a positive example of what can be achieved with a forward-thinking local council at the helm. ‘Swansea Central’ will not only be a destination for world-class entertainment, but also a new urban neighbourhood for people. It marries uncompromising architecture and design with facilities that will draw people and business into the city, supporting the city’s ambitions to be a leading business and leisure destination.”

Planning permission for ‘Swansea Central’ phase one was granted in October 2018 with a planned completion of phase one in mid 2021.