Green light for Swansea Central arena complex

Work on a new complex in Swansea that will feature a 3,500-seat concert arena could get underway as early as this week after a £110m funding plan for the project was approved by the local authority.

The first phase of the development at Oystermouth Road in the centre of the Welsh city has been given the go-ahead, with Swansea Council having added to its initial £24m commitment by confirming the new funding package.

The Swansea Central complex, which will also feature a digital square, car parking, a pedestrian bridge, 15 retail outlets and 36 apartments, is set to be completed in 2021.

The main construction contract was awarded in February to Buckingham Group Contracting, which worked on the 30,500-capacity American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, as well as Cardiff City Stadium’s £10m East Stand expansion.

The delivery architect for the scheme is AFL Architects, developing the vision of original concept designer ACME.

The council hopes to recoup £23m from the Swansea City Bay Deal, a £1.3bn investment programme spearheaded by the UK government, Welsh government and the private and public sectors.

Income from car parking, renting out the retail units and the arena is expected to generate at least £1.7m per year. A further £5m is also set to be returned to the coffers by selling the apartments, while additional grants could reduce the council’s contribution.

The local council has set aside money to cover the first six years of repayment charges, but beyond that, £7m per year will be required for about 40 years, on top of maintenance costs of £1m per year.

However, it has been estimated that the first phase of the development will create 600 long-term jobs and inject £17m into the local economy.

Image: Swansea City Council / AFL Architects