A DEVELOPER said Swansea was its focus for investment and that it would be there for the long-term, the leader of the council has said.
The investment pledge by Llanelli-based Kartay Holdings Ltd was contained in an email to Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart.
Cllr Stewart read out contents from it during a council committee discussion about the new central library, community hub and archives development which is taking shape at the city’s former BHS store on the corner of Oxford Street and Princess Way.
The Swansea Labour leader used the contents as evidence that council-led regeneration in the city was encouraging private investment to follow.
Cllr Stewart said Kartay Holdings’s chief executive Ian Morgan told him that it has just acquired 254 to 260 Oxford Street, with a view to revitalising the retail offering while creating 27 apartments on the upper floors.
Reading from the email at the scrutiny programme committee meeting, Cllr Stewart said:
“This latest acquisition is following our purchase of the Princess House, the 10-storey tower block last year, where we have increased the occupation from 60% to 100% filling the 42,000sq ft to 17 local companies.
“Adjacent to Princess House we have acquired the former Smith Llewelyn building and are in the process of redeveloping the building to provide 15,000ft2 of A grade office space that will be one of the highest quality properties for rent in South Wales, with ground floor retail looking to attract a high-end restaurant or food and beverage.”
The email also said Kartay Holdings had acquired 1 Oxford Street – home to the McDonald’s restaurant and Taco Bell – and that it intended to provide 30 flats on the upper floors.
The company saw Swansea as its “focus for investment”, said Cllr Stewart, and that it intended to carry out further acquisitions .
The email said Kartay Holdings was committed because of the work going on in Swansea, and added: “Therefore, in addition to sharing what we are doing and have planned in the city I also wanted to sincerely thank you and the team for the work they’re doing for the city.”
The Labour administration is behind a number of completed and planned development projects in Swansea, like the £135 million scheme featuring the new Swansea Arena, and a project to revamp Castle Square.
Cllr Stewart said the investment by companies like Kartay Holdings was “exactly what we want to see”.
The meeting heard that the cost of the central library, community hub and archives project had risen to £15 million-plus, which committee chairman Cllr Peter Black said was virtually two-and-a-half times the original expectation.
The committee was told that building costs had risen, that the project’s scope had expanded, and that additional Welsh Government funding support was expected.
It is hoped that the revamped building, which will allow for the disposal of the Civc Centre, will open in early 2024.