Plans revealed for £500m Cardiff Bay scheme include indoor arena

Plans revealed for £500m Cardiff Bay scheme include indoor arena

Plans for a major mixed-use scheme in Cardiff Bay with waterfront apartments, bars and restaurants, a cinema complex, hotel, and a 15,000-seater indoor arena at its heart, can be revealed.The ambitious project would also have office space, a hotel and a 2,000 space multi-storey car park.

Model of new marina for Atlantic Bay Cardiff
Model of new marina for Atlantic Bay Cardiff

While still at an early stage, and requiring investor and developer backing, Cardiff Council have unveiled plans for a 30 acre development.

Last year the council identified the Red Dragon Centre in the Bay as its preferred location for a £100m indoor arena.

The commercially successful leisure venue, which includes an Odeon cinema complex, is owned by the British Airways Pension Fund. With its surface car park it extends to around 15 acres.

Many in the commercial property sector have questioned how Cardiff Council could finance acquiring the site, potentially for in the region of £50m, and also then be able to deliver an indoor arena, a multi-storey car park and a new leisure complex.

But it is understood that the council is now considering options for relocating its County Hall headquarters just yards from the Red Dragon Centre.

If approved it would provide around an additional 15 acres of prime development land alongside the Red Dragon Centre site – boosting the financial feasibility of an indoor arena.

A decision on any relocation is expected to be confirmed this May.

As well as a 15,000-seater indoor arena, a larger £500m valuated scheme could also see:

  • 200,000 sq ft of retail space
  • 50,000 sq ft of restaurants and bars
  • 45,000 sq ft of leisure space
  • 40,000 sq ft of office space
  • 12-screen cinema complex
  • 350 bedroom hotel
  • 2,000 space multi-storey car park
  • Waterfront apartments.

This this week leader of the council, Huw Thomas, and its economic development team, are at the world leading real estate conference, MIPIM, at Cannes in the south of France, talking to potential investors in the Cardiff Bay project.

On the ambitious scheme Mr Thomas said: “These are our plans to continue to develop as a world-class visitor destination.

“The opportunities for growth and to deliver a game-changing project are here. Cardiff is the fastest-growing city in he UK with the best quality of life in the country. We are an events capital with 22 million visitors every year.

“£2bn of regeneration has already been delivered in the Bay and this is the next half a billion project which we want to bring on stream.”

Cardiff Council could also generate a capital contribution towards an indoor arena from the redevelopment of the existing 5,000 capacity Motorpoint arena in the centre of Cardiff.

The council owns the site’s freehold, whose operator in Live Nation could agree to become the operator of a much larger arena in Cardiff Bay.

Any development of the existing site could be extended by including the adjoining car park and buildings owned by property development firm Rapport.

If the council moves out of County Hall, with its surface car park at Atlantic Wharf, there are a number of potential locations for a new council HQ, which could be part of a bigger public sector hub.

These include land at Dumballs Road and the Central Quay development on the Brains Brewery site.

Cardiff Council have been in discussions with the Welsh Government to acquire an empty land site at the south side of the Callaghan Square office scheme in the centre of Cardiff, with a view to developing a new public sector hub which it would look to share with other public sector organisations.

However, the Welsh Government, which acquired the land from MEPC six years ago, has yet to formally bring the land to market for development.

Source: Wales Online

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