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Once vibrant former Cardiff hostel being brought back as an inn

THE NEW owners of a once-vibrant former Cardiff hostel have announced they plan to bring the building back to life as an inn.

On the River, which will replace what used to be NosDa Hostel and Bar in Despenser Street, will include accommodation, a bar, a cafe, and city garden once complete.

The company behind the development, MC2MB Ltd, recently put in a planning application for the first phase of the transformation of the former hostel building.

Director of MC2MB Matt Bryant said: “Cardiff needs quality accommodation on the river and On the River will be a unique mix of sleeping quarters and leisure spaces.

The proposed front elevation of On the River which will occupy the former NosDa hostel on Despenser Street in Cardiff. Credit: Franks and Toms Architects Ltd.

“It’s not just a revamp – it’s breathing new life into a space that’ll become a vibrant hub connecting the community with modern comforts while respecting the rich history.”

The developers said it is their plan for the venue to “foster community bonds” and host regular events “catering to diverse local interests”.

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More than 40 bike racks will replace the building’s car park.

The planning application lodged by MC2MB proposes replacement fire exit stairs, a new canopy, and new balconies that will overlook the River Taff.

Co-director of MC2MB and leisure industry expert Michel Cartis said: “With my background in leisure and marketing I’m excited to make On the River a go-to events venue hosting everything from rugby internationals to Pride weekend.

“As Cardiff’s only riverside spot we aim to offer something thrilling and unique.”

The proposed side elevation of On the River which will occupy the former NosDa hostel on Despenser Street in Cardiff. Credit: Franks and Toms Architects Ltd.

NosDa closed after successive lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the period of closure its outdoor area was taken advantage of by drug users and fly-tippers and became plagued by antisocial behaviour issues.

Cardiff Council sent a specialist team to clean up the outdoor section of the property in November 2022 after it became littered with drug paraphernalia and other rubbish. The building eventually went up for sale for £1m.

Christie & Co, which was responsible for marketing the former hostel on behalf of joint fixed receivers Allsop LLP, confirmed that it was sold in August 2023.

MC2MB Ltd, which is a joint venture between commercial developers Actoris, Michel Cartis, and Matt Bryant, said the project was set for completion by spring 2024.

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