Work on a major new high-tech office development that will provide space for 600 jobs is set to begin in Swansea city centre this summer.
Swansea Council’s Cabinet has agreed to commit funding to the scheme, which is planned for the former Oceana nightclub site at 71/72 The Kingsway.
Worth about £32.6 million a year to Swansea’s economy once operational, a five-storey, carbon zero development with state-of-the-art digital connectivity is planned. It will also feature a roof terrace, greenery and balconies overlooking the city centre and Swansea Bay.
Set for completion in early 2023, the scheme will include 114,000 square feet of commercial floorspace, providing flexible co-working and office opportunities for innovative tech, digital and creative businesses.
Including two underground levels making use of the former building’s basement, public access is planned, along with a new link between The Kingsway and Oxford Street.
A contractor will soon be appointed following a recent procurement exercise. Positive discussions with a potential building operator and tenants are also advanced.
A building review has recently taken place which shows the development to be Covid-resilient, with many design features helping reduce the risk of transmission.
The development will be part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal as part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project which has been approved by the UK Government and Welsh Government. It is also supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “Our plans for 71/72 The Kingsway will create a cutting-edge office environment for tech and creative businesses, including start-ups and university spin-outs. This will accommodate over 600 jobs, while also generating more footfall, vibrancy, greenery and spending in the city centre for the benefit of other businesses.
“We know there is considerable unmet demand for quality office space in the city centre and that companies wanting to expand in Swansea need more choice and options to do so.
“Recent research has shown that interest from potential operators and tenants in this development is significant. Despite the pandemic leading to far more home working over the last year, this shows continued demand from businesses for a high-quality office and co-working development of this kind in the city centre as we emerge from Covid-19.”
Cllr Stewart added: “Planning consent is in place and a tendering exercise for a main contractor has been undertaken.
“This is yet another exciting scheme planned for The Kingsway, which builds on a huge amount of recent improvements there. These include the re-introduction of two-way traffic, a major environmental upgrade featuring far more greenery and public spaces, and considerable private sector investment in developments like the Coppergate student accommodation building.”
Cabinet also agreed to commit funding to the refurbishment of 69/70 The Kingsway, which used to accommodate a branch of Barclays Bank. A three-storey, glass and metal fronted development is planned there, featuring flexible workspaces for a range of companies. This refurbishment could be complete in the spring of 2022.
Complementing the development planned for 71/72 The Kingsway, this planned scheme is supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Other plans include a new public space at the former car park between 71/72 The Kingsway and the planned new ‘living building’ set to be delivered by Hacer Developments at the former Woolworths site on Oxford Street. This is likely to be completed by the summer of 2023, coinciding with the completion of 71/72 The Kingsway.
Cllr Stewart said: “Along with our emerging Copr Bay phase one district featuring the Swansea Arena and landmark new Copr Bay bridge, our Kingsway plans are part of a £1 billion regeneration programme that’s making Swansea a better place to live, work, study and visit.”
(Lead image: Swansea Council)
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