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First Minister Mark Drakeford was among those present in an official opening event at Swansea’s 3,500-capacity arena on Thursday March 3.
It means members of the public will be able to walk and cycle across the new bridge over Oystermouth Road from 11am on Friday March 4 as finishing touches continue to be made on site.
The arena foyer and box office area will also open next week as the venue builds-up to comedian John Bishop’s performance there on March 15.
And in a further boost to the new destination, a high-profile opening for the 1.1-acre coastal park will now take place in the near future.
This means the coastal park will now open to the public after that’s taken place, along with the car park below it – and all before the John Bishop performance at Swansea Arena.
Swansea Council is developing Copr Bay phase one, supported by development managers RivingtonHark. Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd is leading on its construction. The council has also been supported by its property advisors, Carter Jonas.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The official opening of Copr Bay phase one is delivering on our promise to the people of Swansea. This shows Swansea is not a city of artist’s impressions – we are transforming the city with a £1bn programme of investment.
“Copr Bay will create a fantastic new leisure destination and hundreds of jobs and opportunities for local people, while also helping support local businesses and generate more footfall and spending for our city centre.
“We’ve delivered this scheme during a pandemic, so everyone involved deserves enormous credit – from council staff and funding partners to our contractors and Ambassador Theatre Group, who will operate the arena on our behalf and bring world class entertainment to Swansea.
“Worth £17.1m a year to Swansea’s economy, Copr Bay is already acting as a catalyst for even more jobs and investment, meaning Swansea is very well-placed to quickly bounce back from the economic impact of Covid.
“It’s a key part of a £1bn regeneration story that’s unfolding in Swansea, transforming our city into the UK’s best to live, work, study and visit.”
The arena feature of Copr Bay phase one is part-funded by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal – an investment in nine major programmes and projects across the Swansea Bay City Region. The new bridge over Oystermouth Road is being part-funded by the Welsh Government through the Active Travel initiative.
Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, said: “This is a very exciting time for the regeneration of Swansea and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to invest in these projects which will increase the connectivity between the city centre and the waterfront and provide Swansea with a state-of-the-art facility that will increase its ability to host major cultural and business events. I’d like to congratulate all partners on delivering this project in such difficult circumstances.”
UK Government Minister David TC Davies said: “Copr Bay is a wonderful addition to Swansea and I’m absolutely delighted that the UK Government has contributed £13.7m to the project. It will attract visitors and provide a great leisure destination to Swansea’s residents. And it will support jobs and opportunities, as we build back better after the Covid pandemic.
“Projects like this one demonstrate what the UK Government means when we talk about Levelling Up and means that Swansea has a great future.
“I’d like to thank all our partners for the hard work that has gone into this fantastic project.”
Other features of Copr Bay phase one, including the new car park on the city centre side of Oystermouth Road, the nearby apartment development and the new business units on Cupid Way will open in the coming months. The St David’s multi-storey car park will remain open and operational in the meantime.