Vastint has approached the City of Cardiff Council to work in cooperation on the transformation of a largely derelict, industrial, city-centre site which runs along the river Taff.
Vastint, an international real estate developer and owner, wants to work with the City Council on regenerating 33 acres of the Embankment site at Dumballs Road where it plans to build a mixed-use scheme including new and affordable housing. Vastint has more than 25-years’ experience in large-scale property developments and has two large scale UK projects underway in east London and Leeds.
The developer has been negotiating the purchase of land at the Embankment site for the past six months and has been in discussions with the City Council for a year.
Vastint intends on buying just over 24 acres of the site with the City Council acquiring just over 8 acres and by working together they will transform the area. A decision on whether to buy the 8.5 acres will be considered by the City of Cardiff Council’s Cabinet on Thursday, December 1.
Leader of the City of Cardiff Council, Cllr Phil Bale, said: “This potential partnership with Vastint offers a clear opportunity to redevelop a key part of the city centre and could help us deliver much-needed affordable housing. It would also bring to life a part of the city centre running down to the Bay and right along the riverfront which has sadly been neglected for far too long. Money for the City Council’s part in the scheme would come from existing cash set aside for investment on the Enterprise Zone to aid regeneration projects and also from property which would be sold to Vastint to enable the relocation of some businesses still housed on the Dumballs Road site.”
The Embankment site contains around 40 acres of land and accounts for almost one third of the Cardiff Central Enterprise Zone. It is a strategic brownfield site close to the city centre which has existing planning permission for a housing-led mixed use development. The site is of strategic importance in the Cardiff Local Development Plan having been identified as one of only two strategic brownfield sites in the plan.
Cllr Bale added: “The Embankment site has suffered many failed attempts at redevelopment over the past 25-30 years. It suffers from complicated land-ownership arrangements and site abnormalities and so it has remained largely derelict and underdeveloped for decades. The City Council has been working to attract investment into the area for some time and Vastint have now expressed a clear desire to work with the City Council on redeveloping the area.”
The scale of the Embankment site is larger than Vastint’s preferred development model. Consequently they want to cooperate with the City Council to consolidate the ownership of the site before working with the local authority on a masterplan to suit both parties.
Cllr Bale added: “They want to work with us on delivering the Embankment site and will only proceed in partnership with us. If this goes ahead it could be the final piece in the jigsaw which would see the east side of the riverbank from the stadium to the Bay completely redeveloped. The City Council successfully kick-started the Central Square redevelopment. News that Brains and property developer Rightacres are to work together to transform the Brains site, creating a whole new public area called Central Quay, shows that Cardiff is making some giant strides. If we can redevelop the riverbank from Central Square all the way to the Bay then our city will witness a remarkable period of growth and regeneration easily equal to the Cardiff Bay redevelopment in the 90s.”
Andrew Cobden of Vastint UK Services said “Vastint is progressing two large-scale city centre projects in the UK that are truly mixed use. The opportunity to acquire a large land parcel in the centre of a well-established and growing capital city is exciting for Vastint and fits with the planned expansion of activities in the UK. We look forward to working closely with the Council and stakeholders over the coming years”.
The report to Cabinet recommends that the City Council should acquire 8.5 acres of land on the north end of Dumballs Road. It also recommends that a further 3 acres of land on Dumballs Road should be acquired at a later date and that the former Depot building at Bessemer Close should be sold to enable the relocation of businesses from the Dumballs Road area.