Schroder UK Real Estate Fund restarts work on Mermaid Quay revamp

Schroder UK Real Estate Fund (SREF) has announced that refurbishment work on Cardiff Bay’s top dining and leisure destination, Mermaid Quay, is due to restart on the week commencing 6 September.

Planning for the comprehensive package of public realm works was granted in 2018 and the initial phases, including redecoration, new wall finishes and high level signage, were completed in 2019. However, the remaining works were halted due to Covid-19.

Now the refurbishment of the 150,000 sq ft centre, which has welcomed over 100 million visitors since it opened in 1999, is due to resume. The improvement works will include the creation of a stylish new landscaped public space in Tacoma Square, right at the heart of Mermaid Quay overlooking Cardiff Bay. This will provide a fantastic new location for the centre’s extensive programme of events and entertainment, as well as an area where people can sit and enjoy the waterfront.

The plans also include exciting new lighting and cladding to the bridge that spans Bute Street, complete with a welcome bilingual message “Mwynha Dy Ddiwrnod / Enjoy Your Day”, plus new lighting along the water’s edge on the Lower Boardwalk.

Other key elements include:

  • Attractive new pavers throughout the centre, utilising three complementary tones of grey and three different sizes to create an irregular pattern designed to celebrate the centre’s waterfront location
  • Entrance markers which are designed to create a greater sense of arrival at Mermaid Quay, as well as a new arch will mark the entrance to Bute Street. Furthermore, the Mermaid Quay logo will be inset into the paving in brushed aluminium at both the Bute Street and the Stuart Street entrances
  • In addition to the existing street lights, groups of three geolights (2m, 3m and 4m high) will be installed while internally lit globes hung on catenary wires will animate Bute Street and Stuart Street at night
  • A mix of wall mounted and totems throughout the centre, designed with a strong maritime theme will provide new wayfinding and incorporate bilingual directional signage and, in key locations, digital screens
  • New seating and street furniture will feature “pebble” seating, benches, plus new waste and recycling bins
  • Striking new planters in Tacoma Square and at key locations around the centre
  • New banners fixed to lamp posts to animate the streets and waterfront
  • New projecting signs for all tenants in a standard style and format to create a greater sense of cohesion.

The works are scheduled to be completed just before Easter 2022.

The refurbishment will transform the appearance of Mermaid Quay, creating a contemporary dockside feel in keeping with its stunning waterfront location and ensuring that the centre retains its status as one of the most popular leisure locations in Wales. This approach is in line with Cardiff Council’s ambitious vision for the future of Cardiff Bay – which includes a new 15,000 capacity event arena, a new national Museum of Military Medicine and a new light rail/tram system.

Harry Pickering, SREF’s Head of UK Retail, commented:

“This is a very exciting time for Mermaid Quay. As Covid-19 restrictions ease we have started to see a strong rise in visitors returning to the centre and we are working closely with our retailers and leisure operators to ensure their reopening runs as smoothly as possible.

“The centre has always been the ‘jewel in the crown’ in The Bay, but if we are to continue to be attractive to our customers, it’s important that it continues to evolve. The refurbishment work to Mermaid Quay outlines SREF’s commitment to the Cardiff Bay area and the revamp will enliven the customer experience and create superb new public spaces to match the scheme’s beautiful waterfront setting. We can’t wait to get started.”

The original plans for the refurbishment were created by award-winning retail design experts Rawls, supported by JLL’s building consultancy team. The JLL team is now acting as project managers and client representative for SREF.

Encon has been appointed as the main design & build contractors for the refurbishment works.

CBRE are managing agents for Mermaid Quay. Letting agents are Savills and Smith Price RRG.