Swansea's £500m city centre regeneration bid approved
The first phase of Swansea's £500m city centre regeneration has taken a step forward after plans were approved by the council.
Plans include turning the St David's Shopping Centre site into a retail and cafe area with a boutique cinema, with an arena nearby.
A report has warned it may be hard to attract a department store in the current market.
But Swansea Council approved the outline plans on Tuesday.
Martin Nicholls, Director of Place at Swansea Council, said the approval of the plans was a "major step forward" for the regeneration of the city centre.
He said: "This approval means we can now especially push on with our plans for the site that's south of Oystermouth Road, which will form the first phase of the overall development."
The scheme will need planning permission once plans are finalised, with work hoped to start on the southern site by summer 2018.
Student housing has been scrapped as part of the scheme and an ice rink has also been mooted.
The plan is to create new shops, a cinema, offices and housing on the St David's site, which has already been partly demolished.
On the other side of Oystermouth Road, a 3,500-seat arena would go on the existing car park next to the LC leisure centre, along with a 13-storey residential block or hotel.
A footbridge would link the two sites and both would have multi-storey parking.
The area has been identified as the "highest priority for redevelopment in the city centre".
While the project has been largely welcomed, Tesco, Swansea Market traders and the leisure centre have raised concerns over road safety, fears of becoming isolated and loss of light, respectively.
The second phase involves demolishing the civic centre and creating a city beach which would also include an aquarium and digital science centre.