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Former Debenhams building receives extra millions from Welsh Government

19 Jan 2024 3 minute read
The empty Debenhams store at Swansea’s Quadrant Shopping Centre. Image: Richard Youle

Richard Youle Local Democracy Reporter

More money has been provided by the Welsh Government to get Swansea’s former Debenhams building back into use, taking the total to date to £4.5 million.

Swansea Council bought the empty flagship store last April after Debenhams went into administration in 2021. The plan is to refurbish the building and bring in a new commercial tenant, or tenants.

The council received £2.85 million from the Welsh Government for the purchase. It has now emerged that a further £1.65 million has been secured. The £4.5 million figure was given by council leader Rob Stewart in a written answer to a question by Uplands Party councillors, who wanted to know how much was being invested in the four-storey building.

Growing costs

Cllr Stewart’s response said the purchase ended up costing £3.15 million, with a further sum of just over £100,000 spent on professional fees and roof repairs.

Although no-one has signed on the dotted line for the Quadrant Shopping Centre store, agents on behalf of the council continue to hold discussions with retail and leisure businesses. If more than one tenant is secured, work will be needed to reconfigure the building – and the extra Welsh Government money will help with that.

Cllr Stewart told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We want brands previously in Swansea to return as well as new names coming in. That’s what our agents are actively working on.”

Surveys

The Swansea Labour leader, meanwhile, has given a separate update about the unfinished Copr Bay multi-storey car park across Oystermouth Road from Swansea Arena. He said technical surveys were being carried out to understand the full scope of work needed to complete the project.

As has previously been reported, a problem with the paintwork which coats the steel at the multi-storey car park was identified, and work to resolve the issue ceased when the main contractors Buckingham Group went into administration last year.

Since then the council has appointed Willmott Dixon to complete the building, which includes ground floor commercial units at the rear, and the authority said last October that it hoped that the work would be finished in spring this year. But summer is now looking like the earliest completion date, partly because the council wants local companies to be able to bid for packages of work within the contract.

Uplands Party councillors have also sought answers about who will rent the new high-tech office building which is nearing completion at the former Oceana nightclub site on The Kingsway. In response, cabinet member for investment, regeneration, events and tourism, Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, said in a written answer that the council has provisionally agreed heads of terms on 46% of the internal area and that “meaningful discussions” were ongoing with potential tenants for a further 36%.


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