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Work starts to bring homes and more business to major city centre building

A view of the Kingsway Circle from the third floor of Kings Buildings, with the Dragon Hotel in the middle.

A key building at the heart of Swansea city centre is getting a multi-million pound overhaul, bringing new homes and more business opportunities to The Kingsway.

The structure – on a corner of the Kingsway Circle – faces one of the main green spaces being created as part of the Kingsway infrastructure scheme.

Swansea-based developers Peter and Natalie Loosmore, of the city’s St Marys Square Developments, have worked with Swansea Council to secure grant funding and repayable loans to help finance the development of Kings Buildings.

Peter Loosmore said: “We always felt that this location was one of the best in the city centre and had so much potential.

“Since we bought the property The Kingsway has been transformed into a people-friendly location, full of trees and other greenery – it’ll be a great place to live and do business and that’s one reason why the transformation of this building is so exciting.

“Kings Buildings – under phase one of our project – will have 14 new homes on the upper two floors and five new ground floor units for retail, food and drink, and professional services. This is in addition to the existing three business which will remain in occupation and will benefit from upgrading works.

“In future years we’d like to expand the project further by creating more new homes in two additional storeys.

“This is our fourth mixed use development in the city centre and the largest in terms of floor area. We’re confident – even in the current uncertain times – that the investment we’re making will continue to improve on the ongoing investment being carried out in The Kingsway area by the local authority and others.”

The upper floors of the building, which runs along College Street and Princess Way, have been vacant for over 20 years and are in a poor state of repair. St Marys Square acquired the building in May 2018 from another private owner.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “This is more evidence of the private sector’s growing confidence in Swansea’s regeneration.

“Hundreds of millions of pounds are being invested in the city right now meaning the city centre will be a wonderful place to live, work and play.

“The Kingsway’s £12m infrastructure scheme is continuing with the road now two-way and new areas for pedestrians and cyclists, new grassed areas and many new trees and shrubs.

“Our attention has now turned to the refurbishment and rebuilding of key buildings around the Kingsway including the site of the former Oceana and the neighbouring former Barclays building. Our work on The Kingsway will stimulate jobs and economic growth; it’s a key focal area in our regeneration plans.

“Peter and Natalie Loosmore are to be congratulated on getting to work at Kings Building; this project will add new vitality to the city centre.

“Other private sector investors have also joined the council and our partners to offer an exciting future for our city – and much more will follow.”

The Kings Buildings structure, which will remain in place, is between the building which housed the former Barons nightclub and the building which now houses The Gym.

The existing Awa restaurant, Swansea Camera Centre and Blue Arrow Recruitment will remain. Along with these and the new commercial units there will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units above.

A new entrance for the homes will be created in the unit formerly occupied by the Crossfire internet cafe.

The Kings Buildings, directly opposite The Dragon Hotel, face an area of Kingsway parkland and the new two-lane 20mph-limit road which has replaced the former four lanes of traffic.

Construction work on Kings Buildings is expected to last until around May next year. The scheme has planning permission.

The council has worked to help the scheme secure support from the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns initiative.