The Welsh Government and Cardiff Council have been in talks about a substantial investment that would facilitate the building of a new convention centre in the city. The intention would be to construct an indoor arena able to stage major sporting events, but it is anticipated that annual party political conferences would also be held there.
Cardiff’s existing Motorpoint Arena (formerly the CIA) has a capacity of 5000, but the proposed plans would see a convention centre with capacity for up to 2,500 delegates, and an indoor sporting facility that could accommodate 15,000. The centre has an estimated construction cost of around £60m, with the indoor arena being around the same, so it is a rather substantial investment. .
The favoured potential site for the venue is located on five acres of undeveloped land at Callaghan Square which lies adjacent to Cardiff Central Railway Station and within walking distance of Millennium Stadium and St David’s Shopping Centre.
Callaghan Square occupies a prime city centre location and is regarded as the best office address in Cardiff, although other land options being considered are at the Sports Village and another site near the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay. A planning application to develop a site of 90,000 square feet at Callaghan Square was submitted by MCEP and lodged last week with Cardiff Council. If plans for a convention centre and indoor areas are to be progressed at this site, the Welsh Government and council would have to move quickly to agree a land acquisition deal with MEPC.