The first phase of the major £25 million Urban Village scheme transforming Swansea High Street is powering ahead, bringing much needed regeneration to the area and including the construction of retail units, offices, apartments and a three storey car park.
Coastal Housing Group’s Urban Village project is the largest housing association led regeneration scheme in Wales. The contract is being carried out by Midas Construction and its subsidiary Mi-Space.
Coastal Housing Group is working alongside the City and County of Swansea and the Welsh Assembly Government, with the latter providing financial help from their Strategic Regeneration Area funding programme. Architects are Holder Mathias.
“The project is going very well and has been widely featured in the local press” said Mr Steve Griffiths of Coastal Housing Group
He added that the area has lacked investment over the years, so the scheme is particularly welcome locally.
The works are divided into three contracts: – one involving the construction of retail units and offices, a second development involving the construction of a three storey car park and a third comprising 76 new build apartments above the car park.
Works at 212 – 222 High Street are being carried out by Midas Construction and required the demolition of 10 properties to make way for the shell and core construction of eight ground floor retail units with three floors of office space above.
The building, designed in close consultation with the City and County of Swansea Urban Design Department, is of steel framed construction with external elevations in a combination of glazed brickwork and render, with composite windows and a combination of pitched and flat roofing.
Completion is expected around January/February 2012.
The three storey car park, also being built by Midas Construction, will provide approximately 128 parking spaces, with 58 of these being allocated to residents of the new blocks.
The concrete framed building will feature a central core with two lifts and will have secure access from The Strand, as well as being protected by CCTV security. Externally the car park features brick and blockwork elevations.
Mi-Space are undertaking the contract to construct 76 apartments providing social housing in two blocks above the car park. One of the buildings will be six storeys high containing 12 flats, with the other nine and ten storey block containing 64 units (including those designated for wheelchair users).
Accommodation will include nine two-bed three-person flats designed for wheelchair users, with the remainder, mostly comprising two bedroom flats, being for general needs. All of the apartments comply with the Welsh Government’s design requirements, including Secured by
Design standards and Code 3+ for Sustainability.
The buildings are of concrete frame structure with external elevations in a combination of brickwork, render and rainscreen cladding, with uPVC windows and flat roofing. The majority
of the apartments will have a balcony.
Both the residential blocks and the car park are scheduled to be completed in July/August 2012.
The current scheme will be followed by a second phase carried out under a separate contract and will include the refurbishment of a warehouse on The Strand adjacent to High Street and the construction of a ‘creative cluster’ of small business units designed for start up enterprises. This development, to be known as the Swansea Creative Hub, will be the first office block in Wales to be created specifically for commercial creative businesses – allowing the creative supply chain to be situated in one place in a dedicated commercial and supportive environment.
Terry Morley, director at Holder Mathias, said: “Our designs for the scheme will
help breathe new life into an area of Swansea that has fallen behind other parts of the city. The scheme will open up a vibrant new area for people to work, live and shop in Swansea.”
Debbie Green of Coastal Housing Group said: “We are delighted that with the help of the Welsh Assembly Government and the City and County of Swansea, our vision for the Urban Village is finally being realised. Work on site is progressing well and we look forwards to making the High Street an attractive destination for both the local community and visitors.”
The nature of the build programme has allowed Midas to partner with Coastal to deliver significant local employment benefits through a targeted recruitment and training programme, as well as the involvement of local colleges and further education establishments. This project is running in parallel to a number of other refurbishment schemes that Midas is working on with Coastal Housing Group in Swansea city centre.