By Zoe Kramer | Head of News
After receiving planning permission in 2018, the first phases of the refurbishment were completed in 2019. However, the works have since been put on pause due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The redevelopment of the 150,000 sq ft centre includes a new landscaped public space in Tacoma Square, with waterfront views, and a central location to host events and entertainment. Lighting will also be added to the Bute Street bridge. Other additions include a new entrance, new projecting signs, banners, seating and street furniture, pavers, markers, and geolights, with the overall appearance following a maritime theme.
Mermaid Quay originally opened in 1999 and has proved itself an integral part of Cardiff tourism, attracting over 100 million visitors. The dock area originates from the Industrial Revolution, and was known then as Tiger Bay. Communities of migrants from Ireland, Norway, Spain and the Caribbean began to form. The Norwegian Church, now an arts centre, was the site of Roald Dahl’s christening. The multicultural legacy of the area has created a vibrant arts community, including the work of John Clinch.
After the decline of coal exports, the area received its first redevelopment beginning in 1987, including a barrage which created a 500 acre freshwater lake and a nature reserve. Despite its constantly evolving appearance, pieces of history can still be found, such as Coffi Co, which used to be the queue shed for tickets to America.
Mermaid Quay has also gained fame as a backdrop for episodes of Doctor Who and Torchwood.
The latest refurbishment, aside from giving Mermaid Quay a new appearance, is also designed to attract visitors.
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 redevelopment is due to be completed in 2022.