By Toby Holloway
The Welsh Government have given permission for the planning of a new building development at Cardiff Bay, it has emerged.
The development, which will be known as the “Box City”, is to be located in the Porth Teigr area of Cardiff Bay, will also be constructed entirely out of 400 recycled shipping containers.
Initial plans have gone ahead for the Welsh Government to lease 0.64 acres of Cardiff Bay land to DS Properties, the developing company responsible for the rejuvenation of the Grade II-listed Tramshed. The Tramshed, a popular live music venue, digital business hub and apartment building, among other things, was converted from a tram-repair depot and will celebrate two years of refurbishment in March.
The Box City, similarly to the Tramshed, will play host to a myriad of facets, including office space, hotel apartments, an outdoor cinema screen, and pop-up market places.
Speaking to the BBC, Economy Secretary for the Welsh Government Ken Skates said the new development could “bring a host of exciting leisure and business opportunities” to the location. Many parts of the Cardiff Bay area, such as Porth Teigr, Cardiff Docks and East Moors have, until recent attempts at gentrification and rejuvenation, become run down and derelict. Numerous buildings used in a variety of industries previously associated with the Bay are now disused and in disrepute.
Box City will be the first project of its kind in the UK, and is a good example of how degenerated urban landscapes can be recycled for modern functions. The trend of using shipping containers in housing has already become popular across the world, presenting a contemporary, cheap and flexible option to the spatial restraints that are prevalent in many urban areas.
The Box City development will add to the attractions already present at Cardiff Bay, such as the Doctor Who Experience, the Wales Millennium Centre and a plethora of bars, cafes and restaurants.
Points of interest such as these, as well as the 19th century Norwegian Church turned arts centre, have helped Cardiff Bay climb to fourth place on TripAdvisor’s list of the top UK autumn attractions for 2016.
It bested London’s Tower Bridge (which came fourth) and Tate Modern (eighth), but was beaten to the top spot by Compton Acres in Dorset, Castle Howard in North Yorkshire and the Ridge Walk Mam Tor to Losehill in Castleton, Derbyshire, the likes of which made up the top three.
The criteria was based on which destinations had seen the highest increase in tourist interest this year, according to year-over-year search activity on the TripAdvisor website.
Projects such as Box City will only succeed in increasing Cardiff Bay’s reputation as an up-and-coming tourist destination, as well as a hub of sustainable development.