Swansea arena principal contractor impressed by potential Welsh suppliers

The hugely experienced principal contractor helping deliver the £120m Swansea Central Phase One is excited by the local businesses hoping to play a part.

Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd was impressed by the quality and range of would-be direct contractors and sub-contractors who attended a meet-the-buyer event.

Staff at Buckingham are now analysing the inquiries as they work to create a report for the council that will recommend a plan for delivering the project.

Kevin Underwood, Managing Director for Sports and Leisure at Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, said: “We were encouraged by the interest level from Welsh businesses, their quality and their willingness to engage with us.

“A good number have strong experience of working around the UK, working with big organisations and – in some cases – offering interesting specialist services.

“We are looking forward to working closely with Welsh businesses on this exciting scheme; we now ask that those who we met at the meet-the-buyer event are patient as we plan the project.

“In due course there will come opportunities to become part of supply chains and to formally bid for work.”

Swansea Central Phase One will bring a 3,500-capacity digital indoor arena, a coastal park, digital plaza, landmark pedestrian bridge, new car parking and new homes and premises for retail, food and drink.

Over the next five months Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd will undertake pre-construction services including detailed design, costings and essential preparatory work on the city centre site.

The early work will prepare the project and site for the main build phase due to start in late summer this year. The transformation is due to be completed in 2021.

The meet-the-buyer event was held at the Liberty Stadium on March 7 by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd and the council in collaboration with the Welsh Government’s Construction Futures Wales (CFW).

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “Welsh businesses will find work on this world-class regeneration project. I urge them to attend future meet-the-buyer events.

“I expect Buckingham Group to give every possible opportunity to Welsh firms and I’ll be keeping a close eye on progress to ensure that this happens.”

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “This project is all about bringing investment to Swansea and regenerating the city for generations to come.

“A key part of that is to ensure that local businesses have a great opportunity to benefit.”

The digital indoor arena and digital plaza elements of Swansea Central Phase One form part of the City and Waterfront Digital District, which is due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal. An investment programme in 11 transformational projects across South West Wales, the City Deal is projected to give the regional economy a £1.8 billion boost.

Also forming part of the City and Waterfront Digital District due to be part City Deal-funded are a digital village for tech businesses on Kingsway in Swansea city centre, and a box village and innovation precinct development for start-up companies at the new University of Wales Trinity Saint David campus in SA1.