ardiff council has submitted a multi-million bid to purchase a swathe of empty land next the capital’s bus and railway stations.
It’s understood the Welsh Government also considered submitting a bid, but were not prepared to compete with the price being offered by the council.
The one-acre site – thought to be worth between £2m and £3m – was put up for sale after an ambitious plan for a £50m, 32-storey tower was the victim of the economic downturn.
Neither the council nor the Welsh Government, which are both controlled by Labour, would confirm whether they had submitted offers.
The land – currently surrounded by hoardings – is bound by Wood Street to the north, an access road to a pay-and-display car park to the west and the road leading to the Cardiff Central railway station’s main entrance to the east.
Potential buyers, which are also understood to include the hotel arm of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, had until February 22 to submit their “best and final offers”.
The land was previously the site of council office buildings which were demolished in 2003. It’s understood that if the council successfully buys back the site, it will consider reconfiguring the road entrance to Cardiff Central.
The entrance, off Wood Street, has long been the cause of complaint, with buses, taxis and rail passengers being picked up or dropped off competing for space.
It’s not known what the Welsh Government had planned for the site, however it is located within its new Cardiff enterprise zone, which is aimed at boosting the financial services sector by creating Grade A office space.
A statement posted on the Welsh Government website last Tuesday said the Business Minister Edwina Hart had been asked to approve the submission of an offer to purchase development land within the zone.
Asked to specify the location of the land, a Welsh Government spokeswoman said the information was “commercial and in confidence”.
Property agents Knight Frank, which marketed the site, also declined to comment on the bidders’ identities, only saying it was pleased with the amount of interest in the land.
Partner Stephen Widnall said the deal would not be completed until the end of the month.
Conservative councillor Craig Williams, chairman of the Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee, said any major land deal by the council should be open to scrutiny.
“I can understand why they are doing commercial engagement sensitively, but we have made the point that the scrutiny committee can meet in private sessions,” he said. “If you are making purchases of this size with public money there should be some level of scrutiny.”
It is also understood the council is also in talks to buy the Marland House office block, which is located on the other side of the bus station.
The previous Liberal Democrat/Plaid Cymru administration, ousted from power last May, had wanted to buy and then demolish the building as part of its proposal to redevelop the bus station and Central Square.
After coming to power, Labour dismissed that scheme as a “pre-election gimmick” and six months later announced plans to buy 4.3 acres of vacant land at Callaghan Square.
But the authority suddenly dropped plans for the £7.25m purchase, only saying they were no longer “expedient”.
At the time, Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member for economy, denied it was because the Welsh Government had refused to waive an “overage clause” which entitled it to a proportion of the profits from the sale.
Shortly after, the Welsh Government subsequently purchased the site for a price believed to be between £7m and £7.5m.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said it hoped to start construction of 90,000sq ft of Grade A offices at Callaghan Square this year.
“There is also an outline planning consent for a further 410,000 sq ft of offices and ancillary uses, so the whole site could accommodate up to 5,000 new jobs,” she said.
“Discussions regarding the development of the site are on-going and remain confidential at this stage.”
Read more: Wales Online http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2013/03/05/cardiff-council-submits-multi-million-pound-bid-to-buy-an-acre-91466-32920073/#ixzz2MjnHml1B
yet more evidence that Cardiff and Wales struggles to attract the private sector to prime city centre development spots.
this is good news on one hand but bad news on the other
I'm sure the article is saying that the land had large private sector interest aswell as WAG. Knight Frank saying they were pleased with the level of interest and the fact that ikea hotels were trying a bid in.
If the Council are able to purchase Marland House then all the land between Gt Western Lane and the river and central station and Wood St will be in the hands of one owner.
That may be good news in that the area can be properly master planned/reconfigured as necessary. It may be bad news in that the Council are subject to political pressures and budget constraints whereas a private developer isn't. This looks like another chapter in a long running saga.
Interesting news about Ikea though. If they are looking for a prime city centre site what about Adam St? Possibly Capital Quarter or even the Rapport site in Bridge St?
Seems strange to me that the council would bid for the site if there was the opportunity of private sector development. Other parties may have been interested but would they have paid the price the owners wanted? Would it be a surprise if someone has sat on this land for a decade, done nothing with it and hoping to sell at a profit back to the council. I hope not but it wouldn't surprise me. I was only thinking yesterday that this could be another option for the new bus station, providing a clear open space in front of central, but who knows?
The new Ikea hotel chain is in collaboration with Marriot and is called Moxy, and it is a budget chain. Info on it here:
According to the Guardian: "Moxy openings likely in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Liverpool, York, Inverness and Cardiff."
We get two of them! No, I suspect a typo...
The plan is to open 150 hotels across Europe, 50 in the next five years. I guess they are bidding on lots of sites across Europe right now looking for good prices. It could probably go in one of many places in Cardiff, so Central Square is not the only option for them.
Equally possible that the council might purcahse the land but still allow hotel construction there to part fund other elements of the scheme.
Birmingham has had snow hill recently completed and Manchester 1 angel square which are both much larger and higher quality development, as for under construction Manchester has the large office building under construction oposit their library thats bigger than Admiral. Cardiff has a long way to go on this side of things.
spinningfields (off Deansgate) trumps anything we have in Cardiff.
Media City is Salford Quays.
M/cr has lots of new office developments, they may not be 30 storeys but they are there. You mention fusion point et al, well compare that to Salford Quays proper...
Cardiff is great in a Welsh context, but really, in a UK context it is not that great at all
They are also building a new spar in Newport with an office out the back!!
Jantra - Manchester is a much bigger city for goodness sake. You can't really compare the two. The private sector is weak everywhere outside the south east and to some extent Scotland. You say you go to Manchester regularly, it's a city with a lot of economic problems, but like all major cities it has its economic positives.
Like i said Birmingham has the huge snow hill offices
There is the matalan HQ in Liverpool
11 storey office block under construction in Glasgow
Nottingham has this mixed use office development
Also the aeon office scheme is nearing complettion in nottingham (which has surprisingly similar developments compared to Cardiff outside vanity projexts like the senedd and millennium center etc.
No1 St peters square 14 storey office block in manchester
Surely there is office construction in Bristols harbourside development?
yes to Harbourside in Bristol. I past the place yesterday and its a rather decent looking development about 7/6 storeys - which is in keeping with Bristol's low/mid rise style.
NB the district has Hargreaves Landsdown, HBoS Financial Services and Lloyds Banking Group - all divisional headquarters rather than the contact centres that we have in Cardiff
Peel holdings have just achieved planning in Liverpools docks for a multi billion pound scheme. Peel don't mess around, they hold huge tracts of land in the NorthWest, they built the trafford centre (and they own Barton Airport) along with a whole host of other developments.
NB the above is only one example, i'm pretty sure that M/cr, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Bristol all have similar blueprints and outline planning with funds flowing inwards to finance.
I can't believe that you think the once in a lifetime build by admiral and a mothballed development at Capital Quarter is a sign that Cardiff's private sector is doing as well as the rest of the UK. What utter madness. The simple truth is that we cannot get any sort of development next to the train station which in almost every city in the UK sees prime office development (Consider Reading as an example) We have the council buying up land to the north of the station and WG buying up land to the south. no one else is interested. Now what will happen is the public sector will not spend the money on developing anything like Bristol Templemeads or M/cr piccadilly/victoria and instead we will end up with a very poor gateway to Cardiff. That sums up our aspirations and ability to atttract inward investment. The core CBD of Cardiff is primarily owned by the state along with its only major airport. Yet you think we are doing as well as the rest of the UK?
Neither of you are right (or, in another sense, both are right).
In terms of current speculative development, Cardiff is doing pretty well in comparison to even significantly larger cities like Birmingham and Manchester. But thats against a background of really very low levels of spec development outside of London and Aberdeen (oil!).
However, on the other hand, Cardiff saw significantly less space built during the boom years than the bigger cities. I'm not sure it punched below its weight on a population basis, but did on an absolute basis compared to Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow. And Im not sure whether total space increased given the relatively small amount of new build and the large numbers of conversions.
This is a silly debate anyway.
Well answered old chap.
an interesting thing from the green paper shows that Manchester is the best city in the UK for private investment outside of London whilst Cardiff is 27th. So hopefully we can start to see an improvement to Cardiff which will make it even better than it already is. Hopefully in the top 10 for developments in the future seeing as we are about the 10th biggest city in the UK.
you are citing an article from Cardiff City Council - they are hardly going to paint an unbiased picture are they. They will pick and choose the stats that tell the best story.
page 10 - Cardiffs unemployment has doubled in ten years whereas it's population has not. How is that showing Cardiff's competitiveness?
page 11 - Cardiff is about the UK average in terms of competitiveness - I reckon what makes us so competitive is the fact that we have wages/salaries a lot lower than anywhere else. just a hunch.
if a private sector investor has purchased the Seren site then great - that is good news. I've not looked that hard but can't find anything about it on the wunderweb
as for your last comment - sticks and stones. I have my opinion that Cardiff ha a weak private sector. Clearly you think we are an economic powerhouse. Perhaps then you can explain why Capital Quarter is in the state its in?
first you say this
CARDIFFWALESMAP - FORUM