South West Wales

Arena part of £500m Swansea city centre revamp

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Media captionA taste of what is to come

A 3,500-seat arena and an aquarium will be part of a £500m transformation of Swansea city centre which will lead to about 1,700 permanent jobs.

It will be the biggest landscape change since the city was blitzed during World War Two.

A city beach area will also be created with bars, restaurants, offices, 5-star hotels and homes which will open on to an extended promenade and the beach.

Swansea council unveiled the plans on Friday with work due to start in 2017.

Two developers - Rivington Land and Acme, and Trebor Developments - have been appointed and construction work will bring about 500 jobs.

The main areas to be worked on are the former St David's shopping centre, land next to the leisure centre and the prime civic centre site.

The retail aspect will double the city's offering and include well-known stores along with others that are not outside London or in the UK.

It will run from Whitewalls, include a cafe quarter and be built on an incline so that at the other end, people can walk straight over Oystermouth Road to where the arena will be, hosting concerts, shows, conferences and ice skating.

There will also be a high-rise building next to it comprising of a hotel and flats and could become the tallest in Wales.

An access route will run from there to the aquarium and city beach which will have an open area as well as the other facilities.

"Swansea is the beating heartbeat of the region," said Swansea council leader Rob Stewart.

"This is about thousands of new jobs. It's about revitalising the economy of the region.

"We want to arrest people from setting up businesses elsewhere. If we can give the right support and right environment they will set up their bases and stay here."

St David's site

Image copyright Swansea council
Image caption A 3,500-seat arena is one of the key features of the development
  • 3,500-seat arena capable of hosting concerts, exhibitions and conferences with parking underneath
  • Tall residential building which could become the tallest in Wales
  • New retail street featuring iconic brands
  • Restaurant and cafe quarter
  • State-of-the-art cinema
  • Public square
  • Improved links between the city centre and waterfront
  • More parking

Civic centre site

Image copyright Swansea council
Image caption A mixture of housing, cafes, restaurants and an aquarium will be on the civic centre site
  • Apartments
  • Town houses
  • Cafes and restaurants
  • A new public space
  • A public aquarium
  • A state-of-the-art aquatic sciences research centre

Mr Stewart added: "There's still lots to do as we work through the detail of the winning ideas, but these are exciting times.

"We're looking forward to working with the developers and other partners, and more announcements will follow in the coming months."

He pointed to the city beach element as one of the main parts of the the development.

"We are returning this site to the people of Swansea. It's been in council use for 40 years," said Mr Stewart.

"People can go there, sit and look at one of the world's best bays.

"It's about people living, working, dining and enjoying that promenade."

The council is also focusing on other parts of the centre with a vow to not leave out any area.

Kingsway is being turned into a business district and the former Oceana nightclub site has been mooted as a new home for the council.

High Street, near the train station, is about to enter its second phase of redevelopment and plans are being worked on for Castle Square and Wind Street.

It comes 10 years after after a flagship scheme to redevelop Swansea city centre collapsed, leading to years of questions and suggestions over what could be done to improve the city centre.

"This is landscape changing for Swansea," said Mr Stewart. "No area of the city will be left untouched and no area will be left behind."

The Swansea branch of the Federation of Small Businesses said delivery of the scheme was now the "key issue".

Image copyright Swansea council
Image caption A public space near the current civic centre site will lead to the beach

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