A MASSIVE £1bn plan to transform Dylan Thomas' "ugly, lovely town" into a striking "waterfront city" will take a step forward today.
Property developers and land agents from across Britain will be at the launch of Swansea’s City Centre Strategic Framework, a blueprint for the future envisaging a community with water taxis, boutiques and brasseries.
At the launch, major development opportunities at three key locations in the heart of the city will be unveiled.
They include a proposed new riverside square fronting the Dylan Thomas Centre.
Under the new strategy land between the centre and the River Tawe will be used for cafes, bars, waterside apartments, shops and restaurants overlooking a new piazza.
And close by, on land currently used as a car park between the seafront County Hall and the Marriot Hotel, a mix of boutiques, brasseries and public space is envisaged.
More development will be centred on the area around the Grand Theatre at the rear of Swansea’s Quadrant bus station and the Marina Tesco superstore.
The new quarter will feature a pedestrianised square in front of the Grand Theatre plus modern shopping facilities.
The new city centre development areas will tie in with the fast growing SA1 development on the east bank of the River Tawe.
And there are also plans to enhance the “River Tawe Corridor” with water taxis linking new riverside homes along the Tawe in areas like Morfa with the Marina and SA1 developments.
The launch of the framework document at Swansea’s Marriott Hotel today is aimed at bringing private investors on board the development plans already backed by Swansea Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.
The framework will be officially launched by Assembly Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies and council leader Chris Holley.
Mr Holley said, “There is a growing confidence about Swansea and this really is Swansea’s time to attract new investment.
“We want to fulfil the city’s potential by encouraging developers to revitalise existing sites and bring massive improvement in the number and quality of shops and stores in the city centre.
“We are taking the first steps today by launching the City Centre Strategic Framework and marketing three prime sites for development.
“The three sites we’ll be unveiling to developers really are fantastic opportunities for developers to help us make Swansea one of Europe’s leading waterfront cities.
“By bringing Britain’s leading developers to Swansea they can see for themselves the city’s outstanding potential.
“But this is only the start of things to come. More sites will be marketed in the future and Oystermouth Road will be redeveloped into a European boulevard to encourage people to walk between the city centre and the waterfront.
“These developments will transform Swansea and we will truly become a waterfront city to stand alongside the leading European destinations.”
The 20-year framework focuses on key areas including the creation of a mix of retail and “city living” in the city centre.
Other features of the strategy include promoting new shopping developments and enhancing specialist shops and entertainment at St David’s, the Quadrant Centre, Oxford Street, Castle Square, West Way, Wind Street and Princess Way.
New commercial and residential developments are planned for the Kingsway and Orchard Street to create a more attractive location and boost its day and night-time economies.
Developments in High Street will include promoting its role as an “urban village”.
And it is hoped to attract a greater mix of developments in Parc Tawe.
Swansea Civic Society is expected to welcome the framework’s aim to improve retail areas in the city as the organisation has been a long-time critic of the shopping facilities in the city.