New interest in city the day after developer quits
SWANSEA regeneration experts Coastal Housing Group has expressed interest in the St David's shopping centre site — a day after a different developer walked away.
The Post reported yesterday that retail specialists Hammerson had pulled out of an agreement with Swansea Council to redevelop a site seen by the authority as the city's number one regeneration priority.
Coastal Housing development director Gerraint Oakley said: "It is the sort of scheme that we want to be involved with, but it all comes down to pounds, pence and square footage.
"If there is anything we can do to help, we will put our names forward."
Coastal Housing is behind regeneration schemes in High Street, among others.
The significance of the St David's and adjacent Quadrant shopping centres is highlighted in the council's preferred local development plan (LDP) strategy, which is out for consultation. The LDP will be a key blueprint for the city's future.
The draft strategy said: "The redevelopment of the St David's/Quadrant site is the priority regeneration proposal for the city centre and proposals that would be detrimental to this scheme or the wider aim of enhancing the city centre will not be permitted."
Retailers at St David's said the council deserved credit for creating a car park there after demolishing Oldway House and a chunk of the shopping centre.
Chris Capel, of Cranes Musical Instruments, St David's Place, said: "The car park has been really positive for us.
"Our profile has raised considerably.
"But it's disappointing that we're not going to be getting more shops."
Sally Carpenter, a partner at the nearby Jewellery Centre, said it was sad that Hammerson had pulled out.
"We need something a little bit different here," she said.
But she added that the area had improved greatly from its previous "dreary" appearance.
Big Drop Surf Shop owner Mark Winrow said redevelopment talk had gone on for the 17 years his shop had been there.
The council said discussions were under way with leading high street names to anchor the site.
Gowerview wrote on the Post's website: "It's got Castle Quays written all over it.
"This was another city centre retail regeneration scheme which was talked about for 10 years and abandoned before a brick was laid."