Work has begun on a £135m development to help Swansea "reinvent itself".
The Swansea Central project will see a 3,500-seat arena built above a multi-storey car park alongside a hotel, shops, new bridge and housing.
The city council said it aimed to have a "hub" of 11,000 people working in the area and to bring more people back to city centre living.
The arena will be operated by the Ambassador Theatre Group, which runs venues in London and New York.
Part of phase one of the plan involves creating a new inner-city park on top of the site, which regeneration cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said would be the first built in the city since the Victorian era.
"It's getting more people to live back in the city," he told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.
"Our partners in the arena, the Ambassador Theatre Group, are one of the world's global companies for arenas, so we can expect for the people of Swansea, and Wales for that matter, the best product that Ambassador Theatre Group have produced coming into Swansea.
"Swansea needs to reinvent itself, like all cities throughout the United Kingdom.
"Retailing has changed so therefore you've got to have the leisure attraction, people living and working in the city to make it a vibrant city."
Mr Francis-Davies said work had begun at the site within 24 hours of the contract being signed.
"It's going to make [Swansea] a far more attractive place in which to visit and to live," he added.
"Why should people have to go out of Swansea to see these top shows? Now these top shows will be coming to the people of west Wales."