Cardiff convention centre seeks 'economic dynamo' role for city

Cardiff Council is testing the market on plans for a convention centre it hopes will propel the city to becoming an "economic dynamo" for Wales.

Cardiff Council hopes to create an international convention centre
Cardiff Council hopes to create an international convention centre
The city is calling for expressions of interest from organisations or consortia keen to help deliver its plans for an international convention centre, exhibition centre and indoor arena.

Cardiff's ambition is to create a centre that will be "capable of attracting global conferences, conventions and events as a priority for the city", according to the city's director of economic development Neil Hanratty.

"The lack of an ICC in Cardiff creates a significant gap in the city's infrastructure at a time when cities are competing against one and other for global business," he said.

The council has this week put out a call for bodies to come forward to help it decide on details for an ICC, such as size and location.

Current thinking from informal market research is for an indoor arena of up to 15,000 capacity, and an ICC with a 1,500 seat auditorium, 5,000sqm of exhibition space and separate banqueting facilities for 1,500 delegates.

However, Cardiff is giving businesses until 29 November to share their views on optimum size, location, funding models and delivery model, before a potential supplier day to explore proposals further.

Previously, a consultation called Rebuilding Momentum, published in March, looked at four potential sites: the current County Hall in Cardiff Bay, the Red Dragon cinema complex nearby, the site of the Brains brewery and Callaghan Square, which are both situated close to Cardiff's central railway station.

Once a decision is made on location, a public consultation will be carried out.

While plans are in the very "early stages", according to the council's category manager Gareth Berry, work could begin on construction in mid-2015 "at the earliest".

The Welsh government has this week announced plans to hold a second Event Wales International conference at Cardiff City Football Club on 5 December, with themes including the country's opportunities as an international event destination.

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