Empty Swansea office building to be transformed into 350 bed student accommodation

Swansea looks set for a multi-million pound investment following the acquisition of a major redundant office building, with plans to turn it into state-of-the art student accommodation.

Developer Watkin Jones has purchased Ty Nant on High Street next to the city’s main rail terminus.  The building formerly housed the government’s Valuation Office Agency and will be the company’s second major project in Swansea.  The firm previously developed the 967-bed St David’s scheme on New Cut Road.

The company, founded in Wales in 1791 and now operating across the UK and Ireland, says it intends to submit plans to create circa 350 state-of-the-art student homes on the site in a £35m investment.  Proposals will include studios and cluster accommodation, alongside communal and amenity facilities.

“We aim to improve the immediate area for the long-term through our focus on quality design and landscaping. This will attract valuable footfall and expenditure into the city centre,” explained Watkin Jones development director Simon Lovell.

Mr Lovell said the firm was committed to consulting fully with local people and that talks had already been held with the council leader and senior council officers, which he described as ‘very positive’.

“We strive to be a good neighbour and we’re keen to hear local people’s views on our design and our construction process and programme,” said Mr Lovell.  A consultation web site has been launched so that people can learn more about the plans and leave their views: www.tynantswanseadevelopment.co.uk

Ty Nant on High Street in Swansea as it currently looks (Image: Google Maps)

An application to demolish Ty Nant has now been made, with a full planning submission expected in late May.  Mr Lovell says that demand for the homes was expected to be high on account of Swansea’s growing success as a study destination:

“Swansea University student numbers have increased 11.5% over the last three years, while students from Trinity St David’s University have increased by 47.9%. UCAS recently reported an overall increase in student applications for September 2021 and we fully expect this trend to continue,” he said.

He added that the development would relieve pressure on the city’s Victorian neighbourhoods and could free up homes for refurbishment back to family housing.  Expected economic gains include:

  • £6.2m of expenditure per annum in the city centre from residents of the new scheme
  • 42 full-time equivalent jobs both on-site and in the wider economy
  • £2.8m of economic output (GVA) per annum or £24.1million over a ten-year period
  • Release of 93 homes of multiple occupation back on to the market. Assuming band D, that’s £155,000 in additional Council Tax payments per annum

Should permission be granted work to demolish the site will begin in late August.  Work to construct the scheme would commence towards the end of 2021, should planning consent be secured.

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