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Bird's-eye film captures arena progress

Bird’s-eye film captures arena progress


24th July 2020

Incredible drone footage offers spectacular bird’s-eye view of progress on the £135m Swansea Central Phase One scheme.

Please enjoy this incredible new drone footage.

It offers a spectacular bird’s-eye view of progress on the £135m Swansea Central Phase One scheme.

You can see work nearing completion on the project’s giant steel frames.

The 3,500-capacity arena is going up next to the LC, on the site of the former Oystermouth Road car park, along with its adjoining two levels of parking with parkland to come on top.

Over the other side of the main road – between Tesco and Iceland – is the steel frame of a larger multi-storey car park and the concrete core of a block that will become homes and commercial units.

The two sides will be connected by a landmark broad footbridge.

Thanks for the pics and film: Buckingham Group Contracting and Global Drone Surveys.

More: www.swansea.gov.uk/SkylineSteel

Aerial view of the new arena construction.


More trees set to be planted as part of arena project

More trees set to be planted as part of arena project


22nd June 2020

Work is set to start this week on widening a city centre street ready for two-way traffic as part of the Swansea arena project.

Seventeen new trees – including species such as red maple, London plane, and birch – are also being planted close to the Tesco Marina store as part of the scheme in Wellington Street.

The new greenery, supported by the introduction of other plants, will be part of work on the £135m Swansea Central Phase One scheme.

It will accompany improvements to Wellington Street. These will allow improved access to the Quadrant multi-storey and Tesco car parks, and easy access to a 588-space multi-storey being built as part of Swansea Central on the former St Mary’s car park.

The improvement work starts on Wednesday and will take a number of months. Access to the Quadrant car park, Tesco and the street’s coach facility will be maintained.

Mark Thomas, the council’s cabinet member for environment improvement and infrastructure management, said the work will not only improve access to three key locations in the city centre, it will also help Swansea become a greener city.

He said: “Swansea is becoming a greener city and our regeneration projects reflect that, with hundreds of trees appearing in the Kingsway area and planned for the Swansea Central Phase one development.

“This council wants to maintain and enhance Swansea’s natural resources and biodiversity – and Wellington Street is an example of that.

The improvements to Wellington Street will see:

  • New trees planted in a new central reservation at the West Way end of Wellington Street, on the site of the existing Tesco car park entrance and between the Tesco store and the Quadrant multi-storey
  • Existing soft landscaped areas renewed.
  • The Tesco car park entrance move around 40 metres eastwards along Wellington Street
  • Wellington Street between the Tesco store and the Quadrant multi-storey become two lane and two way
  • A bus stop and filter lane installed for motorists heading into the Quadrant car park

Disability parking provision will continue to be close to the store entrance.

Tesco have been fully consulted and city centre businesses are being informed of the changes.

Swansea Central Phase One will include a 3,500-capacity arena which is key to the city’s regeneration.

Other aspects of the scheme will include car parking, a landmark bridge, a coastal park, commercial units and apartments.

It will bring new jobs and act as a catalyst for further investment in the city. The arena will be run by global entertainment operator ATG.


Aerial photos show Swansea indoor arena taking shape

Aerial photos show Swansea indoor arena taking shape


10th May 2020

Dramatic new images show how a 3,500-capacity arena is taking shape between Swansea’s city centre and marina.

The drone photos from main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd – made public for the first time today – reveal how new parts of the Swansea skyline are emerging.

They show steel skeletons of the city’s new indoor arena and allied buildings going up.

Work on the huge steel frames of the £135m Swansea Central Phase One site began to rise around three weeks ago.

Now, a growing part of the arena framework is taking shape on the former Oystermouth Road car park along with a significant part of the multi-storey car park on the opposite side of the road. The latter is 24m tall.

The steel frame work is being undertaken by specialist contractors carefully complying with relevant coronavirus guidelines.

Drone footage of the new Swansea Arena under construction

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “The new images show that this important project is moving ahead at pace. It’s also being done with great care being given to the health of the workforce and public.

“Swansea Central Phase One will help transform Swansea. It’s a catalyst to regenerate Swansea and the region, and – as the recovery goes ahead after lockdown – it will be even more valuable.

“I thank the workers there – including many from South Wales and the steel frame specialists themselves – for making progress whilst working to latest guidelines.”

The £135m Swansea Central Phase One transformation scheme includes new parkland, homes, commercial units and almost 1,000 parking spaces. It is all due to open in the second half of next year.

Work on the arena site by main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd has continued during the recent period of restrictions, in line with Government and industry guidance which allows construction to continue.

A number of South Wales firms continue to work on site along with others.

The steel frame work is expected to last around three months.

Swansea Council is behind the Swansea Central Phase One, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.


Swansea skyline changing as arena steel structures rise

Swansea skyline changing as arena steel structures rise


23rd April 2020

New parts of the Swansea skyline are emerging as the steel skeletons of the city’s new indoor arena and allied buildings go up.

Work on the huge steel frames of the £135m Swansea Central Phase One site began to rise on Monday.

Now, part of the arena framework is up on the former Oystermouth Road car park along with a central element of the multi-storey car park on the opposite side of the road. The latter, at 24m tall, towers over the neighbouring Quadrant multi-storey.

The steel frame work is being undertaken in innovative ways by the experts putting it up – to ensure they comply with all coronavirus guidelines.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “It’s encouraging to see the skyline evolving.

“This shows that progress is being made with this scheme that will help transform Swansea.

“As the days and weeks go on much more steel work will go up. Something special is emerging from this key site.

“We’ve always said the arena is a key catalyst to regenerate Swansea and the region, and now – post-lockdown – it will be an even more key icon and catalyst for recovery.

“I thank the workers there – including many from South Wales and the steel frame specialists themselves – for making progress whilst working to latest guidelines. They are keeping this significant scheme safe and advancing well at this difficult time.”

Arena under construction

The work is part of the council’s £135m Swansea Central Phase One transformation scheme which includes new parkland, homes, commercial units and almost 1,000 parking spaces. It is all due to open in the second half of next year.

Work on the arena site by main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd (BGCL) has continued during the recent period of restrictions, in line with Government and industry guidance which allows construction to continue.

Safety posters are on show around the site.

The steel frame workers themselves, a team of up to 28, travelled from away to do the work. To comply with social distancing guidelines, they travelled in pairs as is permitted under the guidance. During the work, they are living in Swansea at 14 private rented accommodation addresses in those same pairs – and they work on site in those pairs.

To further aid social distancing, they have staggered start, break and finish times. They have daily briefings about their work and coronavirus measures.

Each of these measures helps keep numbers down at any one time in any location on site.

Guidance being followed includes that from Government as well as industry bodies the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA).

Tim Wood, BGCL’s project director on site, said: “It’s good to see hundreds of tons of steel going up so swiftly, efficiently and safely. The framework is a highly visible and positive step in this incredible project.

“BGCL has strong measures in place to protect its employees, clients and suppliers. Full risk assessments are carried out for those on site and actions undertaken include social distancing where safe and practical – in line with latest guidance.”

South Wales firms on site right now include Evan Pritchard groundwork specialists, Premier Groundworks Solutions, concrete specialist Thames Valley Construction, Bond Demolition, Rowecord Scaffolding, Site Electrical Services, Procomm Temporary Accommodation, Proctor Fencing, Quantum Geotechnic and Thrive Women’s Aid Cleaning Services.

Hundreds of Welsh businesses have attended meet-the-buyer events in recent months as main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd (BGCL) worked hard to embrace regional specialists.

The steel frame contract was awarded by BGCL to a Scottish based sub-contractor two months ago after a competitive tender process. Their winning bid providing the best value for the project in a judgment based on quality, timescales, experience and cost.

One of the two South Wales firms considered as part of that tender is now working with BGCL on a major project in England.

Cllr Stewart said: “The arena scheme is a transformational regeneration project that’s key to delivering a 21st Century Swansea. Once the crisis is over we will all be able to enjoy it.

“It’s good to see firms from Wales and elsewhere benefiting from the investment. I’m grateful them for their continuing efforts in Swansea.

“We are assured they are working carefully on the site, in line with Government guidance.”

The steel frame work is expected to last around three months.

Swansea Council is behind the Swansea Central Phase One, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.

Latest workplace guidance includes:


Painstaking operation successfully removes Oystermouth Road bridge

Painstaking operation successfully removes Oystermouth Road bridge


24th February 2020

A 40-year-old footbridge over Oystermouth Road was successfully removed on schedule yesterday and into the early hours of Monday morning.

The footbridge next to the LC was moved in a painstaking operation by specialist contractors using two 25-metre tall cranes.

The bridge, which weighed-in at 150 tonnes, will be replaced in the coming months by an eye-catching gold-coloured covered steel span ranging in width from 6m to 12m and standing up to 6m tall.

This will accommodate the many thousands set to attend events at the indoor arena being developed now by Swansea Council on the former LC car park.

The work is all part of the £135m Swansea Central Phase One transformation scheme which includes new parkland, almost 1,000 parking spaces, homes and commercial units. It is all due to open in the second half of next year.

Council leader Rob Stewart said:
“I want to thank motorists, shoppers and city centre businesses for their support and understanding while this work went ahead. I also want to offer my thanks to all the staff and contractors who took the bridge down safely.

“We didn’t want to disrupt weekday traffic and the decision made sense because weather forecasts predicted that we’d have a break in the stormy weather late on Sunday allowing specialist contractors to come in and do their job.”

The bridge removal was a carefully-planned operation using two large cranes which had to be put together under floodlights on the highway and positioned around the bridge.

Around 25 construction professionals carefully removed the 150-tonne 28m span with the use of two 25m-tall cranes. The operation was managed on behalf of the council by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, the principal contractor on Swansea Central Phase One.

Having been detached from footpaths either side of the road and eased to a nearby location on the construction site next to the LC, the bridge will be broken up and taken away for recycling.

CGI of the new bridge

The new bridge will help the regeneration scheme provide a stronger link between city and sea. It will carry hundreds of thousands of pedestrians and cyclists every year.

With the temporary absence of a bridge, pedestrians can cross the main road via nearby ground level lights-controlled crossings at the foot of Albert Row and Princess Way. Thousands use these crossings safely on a regular basis and many more used them safely to access the recent Waterfront Winterland.

Throughout the Swansea Central Phase One construction work over the next 18 months access to city centre businesses, car parks and attractions will be maintained for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Swansea Council is behind the scheme, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.


Two big leaps forward for £135m Swansea transformation scheme

Two big leaps forward for £135m Swansea transformation scheme


6th February 2020

A preferred bidder was announced for the Swansea Central Phase One hotel site. They are the nationally renowned premium hotel operator, Cairn Group, which is in discussions with a number of international hotel brands for the site.

And the design of the scheme’s landmark bridge was unveiled. It is a playful and spectacular gold-coloured interpretation of a striking swan figure. It was designed by respected Swansea artist Marc Rees in collaboration with contemporary architect, ACME.

Swansea Central Phase One is being developed by Swansea Council as a catalyst for wider city centre regeneration. It includes a 3,500-capacity indoor arena, new parkland, almost 1,000 new car parking spaces, commercial units and more than 30 homes.

It is due to be open in the second half of next year. World-leading theatre company ATG will run the arena.

Key funding assistance has come from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal – for the arena – and from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund for the bridge.

Swansea Central Phase Two is due to follow, delivering office space, homes, retail and leisure.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “This is another big day in this transformative project, part of our £1bn-plus rebuilding of the city centre, something the people of Swansea have wanted for a long time.

“I’m delighted to welcome partners here for the latest major announcements and to update them on the exciting progress we’ve made since the start of main construction work in November.

“I’m pleased to announce we have selected our preferred bidder for the new hotel site – Cairn Group are the best in the business in running top class hotels, including venues for big brands such as Hilton, IHG and Accor. This again demonstrates our promise to bring global brands to Swansea.

“The bridge design by Marc Rees, created in collaboration with top rate architects ACME, will provide a dramatic, eye catching new gateway to Swansea. It’s fun, outward looking and forward thinking.

“Swansea Central Phase One will help us become one of the most exciting places in the UK to live, work, study and enjoy.”

CGI of the proposed bridge design

Swansea Central Phase One is being built near the hugely popular LC leisure centre over both sides of the busy Oystermouth Road. The new broad bridge – up to 12m wide – will link the two halves of the expansive site and will provide a strong link between city and sea.

Key business involved include development manager RivingtonHark and principal contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd.

The new hotel will have 150 rooms and will overlook the arena and Marina. Designs of the new hotel will be released in the coming weeks.

Neeraj Handa, director of the Cairn Group, said: “The opportunity in Swansea is huge.

“The new arena alone is set to attract over 230,000 visitors a year to the city, from business visitors using the new conferencing facilities to holiday-makers taking in a show.

“The major improvements across the city, teamed with the remarkable local beaches and attractions, will ensure Swansea becomes an unrivalled destination to visit in the UK, and the demand for quality hotel rooms will boost the current supply.

“Added attractions will include a gym for hotel guests, alongside a public bar and restaurant, adding a new dimension to Swansea’s evening offer.”

The bridge will stand around 6m above the main road. It will range in width from12m to 6m, will be 6m high and 49m long. It will be lit inside by colour-changing LED lights.

The swan design was the idea of artist Marc Rees, commissioned for the bridge design task by the council.

The origami-style steel cutouts clearly feature swan shapes but there’s also a spirited abstract edge to them.

They’ll let in light and offer attention-grabbing patterns in the steel itself and on the floor; these will stimulate discussion and the interest of those such as local children enjoying the bridge with families and friends.

The bridge represents the transition from the past to the future. It symbolises Swansea’s aspiration to evolve, grow, flourish and become even more exciting but still very much rooted in a sense of place.

Marc Rees

Marc Rees said: “The council wanted the design to reflect an authentic local voice and I hope I bring that along with a compelling artistic edge.

“Working on the design with ACME has been exciting. I settled on an origami-style pattern because I wanted the bridge to have a playfulness reflecting its proximity to the arena and park.

“I chose swans because they represent forward movement and change; they also, of course, have a strong Swansea association.

“The bridge represents the transition from the past to the future. It symbolises Swansea’s aspiration to evolve, grow, flourish and become even more exciting but still very much rooted in a sense of place.”

Friedrich Ludewig, director at ACME, said: “We’re delighted that the design of the bridge for pedestrians and cyclists has been unveiled.

“The structure will seamlessly connect the city centre with the arena and Marina, and will become a stepping stone to connect to the beach. ACME has designed the bridge to celebrate the city through the form and appearance of the bridge.

“The pattern on the side panels is inspired by the silhouette of swans, the result of a close collaboration with the Wales-based artist Marc Rees.

“The selected colour and lighting acknowledges the historical link Swansea has to the local copper industry and is complementary to the digital facade of Swansea arena.”

UK Government Minister for Wales David TC Davies said: “The UK Government is working to bring greater investment and growth to communities across Wales and funding the redevelopment of Swansea city centre as part of the Swansea Bay City Deal represents real progress in achieving those aims.

“Working hand-in-hand with local government and business, we will help create new and exciting economic opportunities to unleash the potential of south west Wales.”

Lee Waters, Welsh Government Deputy Economy and Transport Minister, said: “I’m pleased the Welsh Government has helped to fund these improvements.

“The Swansea Bay City Deal will deliver genuine economic growth, and our active travel fund is designed to help local authorities be ambitious and deliver a culture change in how people undertake shorter journeys. Combined they should bring real benefits to Swansea and south-west Wales.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said: “This Government is committed to uniting and levelling up the whole of the UK by ensuring there is prosperity and opportunity for people everywhere.

“Our multi-million pound investment in the Swansea Bay City Deal shows this commitment in action and these important milestones will create tourist attractions, attract investment and unleash the potential of the area.”

Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd project director Tim Wood said:  “We have been working closely with Marc Rees and ACME to develop the detailed construction and structural designs for the bridge.

“Our aim is to ensure that the finished bridge delivers the architectural, aesthetic qualities that are required and that it creates a stunning visual gateway to Swansea.”

Mark Williams, executive director of RivingtonHark, said: “Landowners and developers need to be considering how they adapt our cities to cater for changing behaviours in the way we use and engage with our urban landscapes.

“Swansea Central is a truly mixed-use scheme that will provide new spaces within the city for a huge range of audiences, from the local community to growing businesses and holiday-makers. It is more than the sum of its parts. It is a new urban neighbourhood for people.”

The existing Oystermouth Road footbridge is due to be removed shortly.


Progress on Swansea digital arena captures Europe-wide attention

Progress on Swansea digital arena captures Europe-wide attention


6th January 2020

The start of main construction work on Swansea’s digital arena has made positive headlines around Europe.

Specialist media across the continent has been quick to report on the milestone moment for £135m Swansea Central Phase One.

Main work on the site near the LC and Tesco Marina began on November 27 and is progressing swiftly. It is being driven by Swansea Council, with the digital indoor arena attraction also being part-funded by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal investment programme.

Swansea is getting international headlines for all the right reasons. Our regeneration work is eye-catching and is stimulating interest across the UK and Europe.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “Swansea is getting international headlines for all the right reasons. Our regeneration work is eye-catching and is stimulating interest across the UK and Europe.

“This will help generate interest from investors who we want to help Swansea and even better place to live, work and play for local people, visitors and businesses.”

As well as media coverage across Wales – by broadcasters, print media and websites – the launch of main construction work was announced by journalists writing for audiences such as the construction and arts worlds.

Property Magazine International reported: “The £1bn transformation of Swansea city centre will take a major forward with main construction work on one of the regeneration’s flagship developments starting onsite.”

European retail real estate magazine Across told readers: “An integral part of the ambitious city-wide regeneration, the £135m Swansea Central phase one scheme is a new cultural district encompassing a 3,500-capacity live performance arena and conference centre, a 150-room hotel, a coastal park, striking pedestrian bridge, new homes, offices and food and beverage space.”

Industry journal Fashion United wrote: “Developed by real estate transformation specialist RivingtonHark, the first phase of Swansea Central is due to be completed in mid-2021 and will be anchored by the multi-functional arena and conference centre.”

UK-based specialist Property Week said: “The venue aims to stage 160 performances a year across comedy, theatre, live music and gaming, attracting more than 230,000 visitors a year to the city.”

Retail Destination reported: “Phase two of the Swansea Central transformation is also underway with an update to the design feasibility being undertaken. It will include further new homes, new office space, retail and leisure space along with additional public realm.”

Other journalists writing about the scheme have included those from specialist news providers Access All Areas, Exhibition News, Construction News and Arts Professional.

The payback for councils is not just in rents. By regenerating the centres, they can reduce burdens on NHS services as more people are working; increase business rates; and raise the general well-being of the town.

Mark Williams, of retail asset manager Rivington Hark, who headed a government-backed retail property taskforce from 2012-15, told retail and fashion magazine Drapers: “Local authorities buying assets in their own town centres makes absolute sense. They’re trying to rejuvenate towns. And by doing it they’re looking at assets on a long-term basis.

“The payback for councils is not just in rents. By regenerating the centres, they can reduce burdens on NHS services as more people are working; increase business rates; and raise the general well-being of the town.”

Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, told Drapers: “It’s so easy in times of austerity to neglect things that are important – such as town centres –  but making a destination strong and a place people want to enjoy is important.”


Next Steps Being Taken In £1 Billion Regeneration Of Swansea

Next Steps Being Taken In £1 Billion Regeneration Of Swansea


27th November 2019

The £1 billion transformation of Swansea city centre will take a major step forward this month with main construction work on one of the regeneration’s flagship developments, ‘Swansea Central’, starting onsite on 27 November. An integral part of the ambitious city-wide regeneration, the £135 million ‘Swansea Central’ phase one scheme is a new cultural district encompassing a 3,500-capacity live performance arena and conference centre, a 150-room hotel, a coastal park, striking pedestrian bridge, new homes, offices and food and beverage space, allowing the city to realise its potential to become one of the most exciting places in the UK to live, work, visit and study.

‘Swansea Central’ phase one is being delivered by Swansea City Council and developed by RivingtonHark, the leading city and town centre real estate transformation specialist. It is being funded by Swansea Council, with the arena feature of the development being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal, a £1.3 billion investment fund set-up for major transformation projects in this region of South Wales. Phase one is due to complete in mid 2021 and will be anchored by the multi-functional arena and conference centre, operated by the global leader in live theatre, The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG). The venue aims to stage 160 performances a year across comedy, theatre, live music and gaming, attracting over 230,000 visitors per year to the city and positioning Swansea as a desirable destination for both leisure and business.

CGI of the new ATG Arena

In addition, phase one also includes a green wall and the 1.1-acre coastal park, providing attractive green spaces as well as facilities for outdoor events, plus the hotel and 960 new parking spaces across the development. Adjacent to Swansea’s picturesque Marina, the ‘Swansea Central’ scheme will take the next steps to connect the city to the spectacular beach with the help of a statement bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, which combines improved permeability with eye-catching design.

Phase two of the ‘Swansea Central’ transformation is also under-way with an update to the design feasibility being undertaken. It will include further new homes, new office space, retail and leisure space along with additional public realm.

Swansea Central is a missing piece of the jigsaw that will attract more people to the city centre, and greatly strengthen our economic buoyancy.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, commented: “The start on site of ‘Swansea Central’ marks a huge step in the major evolution of Swansea. From our spectacular beach and historical landmarks, to our world-leading universities and institutions, Swansea provides a wealth of opportunity that has been undervalued for too long. Alongside the other transformative projects taking place across the city, ‘Swansea Central’ is a missing piece of the jigsaw that will attract more people to the city centre, and greatly strengthen our economic buoyancy. The ‘Swansea Central’ phase one scheme alone is forecast to create over 2,500 new jobs throughout and beyond construction, of which 75 per cent are expected to be filled by local residents. Phase two will also see the creation of a large public sector hub, with the potential to create thousands more jobs in the city centre.”

The wider Swansea City Centre Regeneration Programme will bring further new housing into the city, as well as facilities for learning and business. The Swansea Bay City Deal will also part-fund a new commercial district, featuring a 100,000 sq ft innovation hub with incubation and co-working spaces for small businesses in the tech and creative industries, and a new ‘box village’ and innovation precinct due to be constructed at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David SA1. This will provide world class, flexible and affordable space for start-ups and students, supporting the retention of post-graduates in the city. Upon completion, these projects will collectively generate an additional £6.6 million household spend per year and £297 million GVA into the local economy.

Swansea Central will not only be a destination for world-class entertainment, but also a new urban neighbourhood for people.

Mark Williams, Executive Director of RivingtonHark, said: “More than ever, city centres need local authority intervention in order to thrive, and Swansea is a positive example of what can be achieved with a forward-thinking local council at the helm. ‘Swansea Central’ will not only be a destination for world-class entertainment, but also a new urban neighbourhood for people. It marries uncompromising architecture and design with facilities that will draw people and business into the city, supporting the city’s ambitions to be a leading business and leisure destination.”

Planning permission for ‘Swansea Central’ phase one was granted in October 2018; main works start onsite on 27 November 2019 with a planned completion of phase one in mid 2021.