South West Wales

Swansea Oceana nightclub talks held over future

Oceana opened in 2008 after a £6m refurbishment
Oceana opened in 2008 after a £6m refurbishment

The owners of Swansea's biggest nightclub are holding talks with its landlord in a bid to keep the struggling £6m venue open for business.

Peter Marks, chief executive of the Luminar Group, admitted it was "50/50" whether the 3,000-capacity Oceana in the Kingsway could afford to stay open.

The club was saved last year by a group of investors led by Mr Marks when the old Luminar went into administration.

Swansea's biggest casino, Aspers, announced in May it plans to close.

News of Oceana's struggle was highlighted by Mr Marks in a documentary for Channel 4 .

He said: "Some of the concerns I thought I had were real. The location is a real issue.

"We've got to get the volume up and the income up and if we can't do both, it won't make the money it needs to cover the rent."

He also told a member of staff: "We will be fighting hard to make sure this club survives but we can't guarantee it."

Mr Marks admitted selling drinks for 80p was a result of the recession and price war going on.

"What people want is value for money," he said. "It galls me to say it but we've got to do it. I don't like it."

Since the filming was done in May, a spokesman for the group said talks with the club's landlord had been going well.

'Very positive'

Russell Greenslade, chief executive of Swansea Bid which represents city centre businesses, said: "Oceana does play its role in the night-time economy and brings people into the Kingsway.

"It is a destination place but so are others on Wind Street."

He added: "Anything like this isn't good for any type of city or town."

He said businesses were continuing to invest in the city, with new venues shortly opening on Wind Street.

Stephen Lynn, from Luminar said: "We've got ongoing conversations with the landlords about paying the rent for the club.

"The rent we pay is extremely high and it makes us not as economical.

"The conversations with the landlords have been very, very positive.

"We are open for the foreseeable future."

The venue has been used as a double-room nightclub for many years.

It was formerly known as Ritzy and Icon in the 1990s and later Time and Envy, and was seen as the main night spot in Swansea city centre.

It closed in 2008 for a £6m refurbishment and opened up with an extra five theme bars, making it the biggest Oceana in Wales and one of the largest in the UK.

The closure of a number of clubs around Oceana has left it isolated with much of the night life now in Wind Street.

'Hindering'

However, businesses there appear to be finding trade tough too.

Aspers, which opened its £13m casino in 2007, announced in May that it was holding a 90-day consultation over closing the venue.

It said the venue was not commercially viable.

Bruno Nunes, owner of Peppermint bar in Wind Street said Aspers would be a bigger loss than Oceana in its current state.

"It's going to be heavily detrimental to the street," he said. "It's a large key site in the middle of Wind Street.

"If it is boarded up and left to look abandoned, it will be a reminder of the tough economic times.

"With Oceana, while I don't wish them to go, for me, a venue that does 80p drinks and 3-4-1 is hindering everyone and does not promote responsible drinking.

"It is out there on its own [Kingsway] but because of its offers it is getting the volumes back, but not all are very nice people."

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