Cardiff Coal Exchange £20m Development Plans Renewed

Thursday, 19th April 2012
  £20m plans to improve a historic building that was at the heart of Cardiff's 19th Century coal boom will start as soon as the market improves, the developers say. Construction group Macob shut the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay in 2007 for a revamp which did not go ahead but the firm has been allowed to extend its 2006 permission for 116 apartments, two restaurants, shops and office space. The Grade II-listed site is currently used as a live music venue but that element was not included in plans before councillors.   The proposals before the city's development control committee on Wednesday were almost identical to those the Cardiff-based construction group put forward for in 2006 for redevelopment that was to take two years. But those plans for the landmark Victorian building fell victim to the credit crunch.     Although the hall reopened in 2009 for music and other events after some minor improvements, the planning report said the building has remained vacant and deteriorating for more than 35 years. In later years it was talked about as a possible home for the Welsh assembly.     The Coal Exchange in Mount Stuart Square played an important role in 19th Century industrial Cardiff with the world's first recorded £1 million coal deal was struck there in 1904. It was a base from which negotiations were made to trade coal, which was shipped to Cardiff for distribution from the south Wales valleys, with coal owners, ship owners and their agents meeting there daily.     Macob said it had been given the go-ahead by the committee to extend its planning permission by five years, adding that it will start work "in a staged approach as soon as the market allows".     Wayne Rees, director at Macob, said the firm planned to "rejuvenate" the historic building. "Our proposals are to bring 116 apartments, two cafes, two restaurants, two shops and 515 sq m of office space to the development, rejuvenating this historic building," he said.