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Land assembly boosts Kingsway business district plans

Ambitious plans to develop a business district in Swansea city centre have taken another step forward.

Oceana

Swansea Council has now bought a number of properties on Kingsway and Oxford Street in preparation for a district in future that could employ thousands of people.

It's all part of the council's plan to support existing city centre traders and attract new investment by generating more footfall and spending.

The purchases have largely been funded by the Welsh Government's Vibrant and Viable Places Swansea City Centre Regeneration programme that was awarded in June, 2014.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "Statistics show us urban employment in Swansea is estimated at 19%, while the figure for comparative cities elsewhere in the UK and further afield is over 30%, so it's clear we need to close that gap to help develop the kind of vibrant, thriving city centre we all want in Swansea. This is why we have plans to transform Kingsway into a business district that will employ thousands of people and generate a level of footfall and spending the city centre needs to flourish.

"But to accommodate our plans, we also realise that the buildings and environment in the Kingsway area have to be improved if we're to attract the kind of top quality office and residential developers needed to boost the city centre and create job opportunities.

"Securing council ownership of these properties will help us deliver a major employment hub more easily in the longer term once we have enough external funding in place. We also worked closely with the Welsh Government to purchase large parts of the former St David's Shopping Centre site a few years ago, which laid the foundations for a regeneration scheme there that will include shops, restaurants, cafes, a public square, a state-of-the-art cinema and a new indoor arena."

Demolition of the former Oceana nightclub building on Kingsway is also on-going. Due to asbestos found in the building, the project is taking longer than expected, with demolition now earmarked for completion by the end of the year.

Cllr Stewart said: "It's normal for a building of this age and size to have asbestos, but its presence has delayed the project. What we're doing now is safely removing the asbestos using expert contractors, so nearby businesses and pedestrians can be reassured there's no risk. We're now looking at external demolition starting by the early autumn, with the project set for completion in advance of the busy Christmas shopping period.

"We're also moving forward with our long-term strategy for Kingsway while this work is on-going to make sure no time is lost."

Subject to funding, a new office development will be constructed at the former Oceana site. 


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