BBC Wales gets keys to new Cardiff Central Square HQ

Image source, Patrick Olner
Image caption,
The new BBC Wales headquarters in Cardiff Central Square now needs to be fitted out for use

BBC Cymru Wales has taken possession of its new headquarters in Cardiff.

The £100m building at the site of the former bus station is part of Central Square, a development that will include one million sq ft (92,903 sq m) of office, residential and retail space.

Installing broadcast technology will take 18 months and the first staff are likely to move in by the end of 2019.

Central Square has "triggered a major regeneration of the city centre", BBC Cymru Wales' director said.

The building has been developed by Cardiff-based Rightacres Property. Its chief executive, Paul McCarthy, said the handover marked an "important milestone in the development of Central Square".

Rhodri Talfan Davies confirmed the overall investment in the building had been about £100m and added: "It's the entire technical infrastructure that supports broadcasting not just in Cardiff but in Carmarthen and Wrexham and Bangor - right across Wales."

The site of BBC Cymru Wales' current headquarters in Llandaff is to be transformed into a housing development.

Media caption,
How Cardiff's Central Square has changed over 80 years, including time lapse of latest developments.

Once completed, the new building will also house S4C transmission staff, and will offer regular access to some workers from the independent production sector.

It will be the first broadcasting centre in the UK to use internet protocol (IP) technology, which will allow devices around the building to recognise and "talk" to each other.

It will bring the technology into different aspects of broadcasting - from controlling cameras, TV editing and output.

BBC Director General Tony Hall said the building marked a milestone for Wales' creative sector.

"Alongside the major investment we're making right now in Welsh programming - from Valleys Cops and Keeping Faith to Radio Cymru 2 - I believe this brilliant new centre will become a real magnet for new creative talent," he said.

Media caption,
Director General Lord Tony Hall said the new building showed 'creative ambition'.

Mr Talfan Davies said: "The media landscape is changing at a speed never seen before - and Central Square is a crucial part of our strategy to modernise and renew BBC Wales, and to ensure we serve all our audiences across Wales."

He told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme: "Whilst I have lots of happy memories of Llandaff, the place is being held together with proverbial string at the moment.

"The technology is outdated, the premises are dilapidated - we need to go to somewhere that enables us to broadcast with real confidence."

A new report by BOP Consulting has reasserted that the new broadcasting centre will contribute £1.1bn to the economy of the Cardiff city region over the next decade - a finding it previously reached in 2015.

It said this was the equivalent of 1,900 full time jobs and included those working on the new BBC building, as well as people employed by new businesses which are being drawn to the city in light of its construction.

It also predicted an increase in spending by visitors to Cardiff, while the housing planned for construction on BBC Wales' existing headquarters in Llandaff also contributes to the economic impact assessment.

Central Square's vital statistics

  • The internal size of Central Square over several floors is 155,582 sq ft (14,454 sq m) - about 1.5 times the area of the Principality Stadium's pitch
  • It is roughly half the size of BBC Wales' Llandaff sites
  • The excavated material from the site would fill 19 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • There is more glass in the building than the glasshouse roof at the National Botanic Garden for Wales in Carmarthenshire
  • Rainwater harvesting tanks at Central Square collect enough rainwater for 27,000 toilet flushes

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