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Work on new £50m Mariner Street project to start this autumn

Work is expected to start this autumn on a £50 million development that will help breathe new life into the High Street area of Swansea city centre.

Icon 21

Planning approval has now been granted for the Icon 21 complex on the current Mariner car park site that will be made up of 21 storeys of student accommodation above a number of shops and other businesses on the ground floor. 
 
With support from Swansea Council, developer RDE Silex is behind the Icon 21 scheme. 
 
The scheme, opposite Swansea railway station, will include 725 student rooms in total as well as new, urban scale buildings. Standing 72 metres high, the tower, with an iconic sloped roof design, will be Swansea's second tallest building and among the tallest in Wales.

Wider footways and a new public space will also form part of the project, with new trees due to be planted around the perimeter of the building.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "This scheme, funded by the private sector, is another major boost for Swansea city centre as we continue to make significant progress with our regeneration plans for the benefit of residents and visitors.
 
"It will generate a different feel in High Street as more people live there, creating increased spending in city centre businesses, boosting the diversification of High Street and greatly improving the sense of arrival and vibrancy people experience outside Swansea railway station.
 
"This project, in combination with our regeneration plans for St David's, the Civic Centre and Kingsway, shows how determined we are to transform the city centre's fortunes, support existing businesses, open up new jobs and attract further investment in future."
 
In 2015, Swansea Council, as part of its Central Area Regeneration Framework, developed a series of guiding principles for the High Street area's transformation. They included mixed-use developments, the encouragement of residential uses on upper floors, the use of high-quality materials and improved public spaces.
 
It's felt the Icon 21 scheme, supported by the Design Commission for Wales, meets all these requirements, as well as guidelines set down by the council's Tall Buildings Strategy. These guidelines include recommendations that proposed tall buildings should form a landmark at key city gateways and include active uses at ground floor level.
 
Some of the materials used could include coal and copper coloured cladding - a nod to the city's proud industrial heritage. Copper coloured metal mesh could also be installed over parts of the tower's north and south faces, similar to materials used in the St James' Point student accommodation development in Newcastle. 
 
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: "The slender tower with a distinctive sloping roof will be a bold addition to Swansea's skyline that symbolises the regeneration of High Street. 
 
"As well as becoming a landmark feature at a key gateway in and out of Swansea city centre, it was also critical that this development exhibited the highest standards of architectural design and didn't conflict with buildings of heritage value in the area. Icon 21 ticks all the boxes, so this is another major step in the right direction for the regeneration of High Street and the city centre as a whole."
 
A heritage impact assessment considered during the determination of the planning application found that the scheme would enhance the adjacent Alexandra Road conservation area, including the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, and that it wouldn't impact upon other heritage features nearby, like Swansea Castle and Ebenezer Chapel. A separate assessment also found the tower wouldn't generate significantly faster speed winds at street level.

It's expected Icon 21 will be finished in time for the start of the 2018 academic year.


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