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A huge multi-storey car park with 1,300 spaces is planned for Cardiff Bay alongside the new indoor arena.

The car park would replace existing parking spaces at County Hall and the Red Dragon Centre, freeing up land for development.

Cardiff council is planning to redevelop a wide area around Atlantic Wharf, building a 15,000-spectator arena, 1,100 apartments, and shops, restaurants and bars.

New details of the Atlantic Wharf regeneration scheme revealed details of the huge car park plans, as well as a joint project between the council and the Wales Millenium Centre.

The multi-storey car park would likely be built towards the eastern edge of the existing Red Dragon Centre car park, according to public consultation documents on the regeneration scheme. About 400 spaces would be lost, as the current County Hall and Red Dragon Centre car parks have a combined 1,700 spaces. It would take about two years to build.

‘Green initiatives’ to make the car park sustainable include 375 electric vehicle charging points, battery storage, a solar farm, and a ‘vertical green wall and an integrated hydroponics facility’, according to a cabinet report.

Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member for investment and development, said the regeneration scheme is backed by Cardiff businesses, and the private sector would take on most of the risks of building the arena.

He said: “The city’s business community has backed the project for many years, particularly the hospitality sector. The private sector will be taking the lion’s share of the risk associated with the delivery of the arena.

“The council’s aim has always been to deliver a tier one arena on a cost neutral basis to the Cardiff taxpayer. To do this, the council will have to invest in some of the upfront costs of the project, but these will be recovered from our private-sector partners, who will commit to a long-term commercial lease of the arena.

“This project and the spin off projects we are looking to bring alongside it will play a key role in delivering jobs for Cardiff as we look to recover from the pandemic.”

The council’s cabinet will likely vote to approve the next steps of the regeneration scheme on Thursday, July 15. Further updates are expected in September, and a planning application will likely be submitted in October for the wider development works.

Part of the work could include a new production facility. The council is discussing with the Wales Millenium Centre about a ‘cultural production partnership’. The production facility would be part of the Red Dragon Centre, which will be knocked down and rebuilt. The redevelopment of the centre will be done in phases, so all of the current tenants could stay.

Cllr Goodway added: “The cultural sector alongside the hospitality sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, so it’s important we do everything we can to revive it as we come out of lockdown and look to the future. Culture, music, theatre and the arts play a key role in helping a city define itself. It’s a massive draw for people and a huge part of any successful city’s economy.

“As well as delivering jobs and careers it can market a city to the world. Cardiff, Wales’ capital, needs to have a successful, world-class cultural offering. We are working with the WMC to look at ways to maximise opportunities to support the city’s creative economy.

“The partnership will see the development of local productions and content that will feed the Atlantic Wharf development, the WMC and other city cultural venues. It will see pioneering work being done with local communities and schools to nurture the creative talent of the future.

“We have worked up a memorandum of understanding with the clear objectives of raising the international profile of the creative sector in Cardiff; increasing the value of creative and cultural productions in the city; increasing attendance and participation in creative and cultural events, while supporting a diverse talent pipeline which will sustain the city’s creative sector.”


photo credit: John Lord, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19286828

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