Home » Major plans to transform Capitol shopping centre into huge entertainment centre
Cardiff Entertainment Entertainment National News

Major plans to transform Capitol shopping centre into huge entertainment centre

A SECTION of Cardiff’s Capitol Shopping Centre is set to be transformed into a vast indoor entertainment complex, featuring karting, indoor golf, and new bars.

The ambitious plans, proposed by NewRiver Retail, aim to convert part of the Capitol Shopping Centre on Queen Street into a bustling entertainment venue. The north-east side of the ground floor, first floor, and basement will see its shopfronts demolished and replaced, along with the addition of a new covered outdoor seating area.

If approved, the area near Station Terrace will be developed into an indoor entertainment centre by leisure company Gravity, which already operates several venues across the UK, including the £10m Gravity MAX in Liverpool that opened in 2023. This Cardiff site would mark Gravity’s debut in Wales.

Gravity’s proposals for the Capitol include e-karting with electric karts, virtual reality facilities, indoor golf, I-Combat, karaoke, darts, electric gamebox, bowling, a family entertainment centre, a sports bar, and refreshment areas. The plans also feature covered outdoor seating on the Queen Street side near the main entrance. The existing canopy will be repainted black, and a new canopy will be constructed near Station Terrace.

The development aims to revitalise the shopfronts on Queen Street and Station Terrace, enhancing their visibility and boosting footfall to the Capitol, which has seen several high-profile proposals fall through in recent years.

Once Cardiff’s primary shopping area, Queen Street has been plagued by antisocial behaviour and an increase in vacant units. Last year, plans for a new food court at the Capitol, which promised all-day dining, retail, and 100 jobs, were cancelled, disappointing local traders. Efforts to revive the area included the reopening of the historic Dock Feeder Canal off Queen Street last year after months of work.

Planning documents from Cooke & Arkwright indicate that the vacant units in the Capitol have attracted “little interest from potential retail and leisure occupiers” aside from short-term tenants or retailers. While some units will remain for retail, Gravity “has the potential to draw new visitors to the city centre” and “enhance the vitality, viability, and attractiveness of the city centre.”

Michael Harrison, co-founder of Gravity, stated: “Gravity is a family entertainment venue that ramps up during the evening to cater for the adult and corporate market. Our priority, like in our other venues, is to offer affordable fun in a safe environment. Security and a friendly atmosphere are key to this. I love Cardiff and can’t wait to get started. We will be working with local authorities to improve transport links to that part of town and open up the entrance near the train station. This will be a multimillion-pound investment and a footfall driver to this end of the city, while not competing with existing retailers and food and beverage outlets. We will create 150 jobs and do our best to integrate with the local community.”