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Progress on Swansea digital arena captures Europe-wide attention

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

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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. 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.

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 interested in the scheme included those from Access All Areas, Exhibition News, Construction Newsand Arts Professional.

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."

Image: How a key element of Swansea Central Phase One will look.

 

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