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Regeneration of Cardiff Bay takes another major step forward

The regeneration of Atlantic Wharf took another step forward today, with a new report providing an update on the proposal to redevelop The Red Dragon Centre site which – along with the new indoor arena – is a key project to stimulate the next-phase regeneration of Cardiff Bay.

In January 2020, Cardiff Council acquired The Red Dragon Site so that the council had full control over the land required to enable the development of a new 15,000-capacity indoor arena, and to facilitate the investment into the wider Atlantic Wharf site. The 30 acre site, which includes the Red Dragon site and the County Hall site, has been split into two development areas and in September 2023, the regeneration opportunities were put out to market.

The Red Dragon site, which is 11.3 acres of land south of Hemmingway Road, received two detailed bids following the eight-week marketing process, with Aviva Capital Consortium (ACC) identified as the ‘Preferred Offer’. The ACC proposal is to deliver aresidential led, mixed-use development, providing new homes, offices, hotels, food and beverage and leisure facilities. The council will now work with ACC to develop its proposaland to prepare an Option Agreement thatwill be reported back to Cardiff Council’s Cabinet in the summer for approval.

In addition, the council is seeking to alter its car parking strategy for the Atlantic Wharf site by acquiring the Q-Parks Multi-Storey Car Park on Pierhead Street, which will allow the Council to build a smaller, new multi-storey of 900 spaces rather than 1300 spaces, previously required. The Pierhead Street car park can be acquired without the need for any further budget by reducing the size of the new multi-storey car park. The acquisition will give the Council control over 2119 spaces for the same cost as 1300 spaces and will help to mitigate the short-term risk identified in a November Cabinet report when the funding package for the Arena and car parking provision was approved.

As part of the redevelopment the Council is also seeking to improve the walking and cycling routes along Lloyd George Avenue. Initial discussions have taken place with Welsh Government which could see the council adopt the road once the PFI contract comes to an end in 2025. The council is keen to consult with the local community on how the carriageway can be re-modelled to improve active travel routes to complement the new Metro line and to increase the amount of green space and landscaping.

Cllr Russell Goodway, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development at Cardiff Council said: “With the preliminary ground works starting on site for the Indoor Arena this month, the years of planning to regenerate this part of Cardiff Bay is now coming to fruition. The marketing of the Red Dragon site was very encouraging, and I am pleased that a ‘Preferred Offer’ has been identified. Authority is now being sought from Cabinet to develop an Options Agreement with ACC to regenerate this site.

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“The new parking strategy will allow the council to capture more income from the event parking generated by the arena, which will mitigate some of the financial risks in the early years that was highlighted in the funding package for the new arena.

“The arena and wider masterplan will see a significant investment into the local economy, kick starting the next phase regeneration of Cardiff Bay, creating jobs and opportunities for local people while acting as a catalyst for further investment into this historic part of the city. It also forms the missing part of the jigsaw in Cardiff’s music offering, as identified in our Music Strategy.

“The arena will significantly increase the number of people visiting Cardiff for events and concerts, benefittingexisting hospitality venues as well as the new developments that will be built as part of this regeneration scheme. The increased footfall will also complement the new Metro to Cardiff Bay, as well as improving Cardiff’s credentials to attract more and bigger events to the city.

“The current administration has made it clear from the outset that the councilis committed to transforming this historic part of Cardiff into a leading UK destination for leisure, culture, and tourism, attracting more people to visit the city that we hope will stay for a longer period of time.”

The report will be presented to the Economy & Culture Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 16 January 2024 at 4.00pm.

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