New Cardiff apartment project to become tallest building in Wales

New Cardiff apartment project to become tallest building in Wales

A prime development site in Cardiff city centre has been acquired for what will be Wales’ tallest building. The final plot of land (lot 5) in the Central Square mixed-use scheme has been purchased by Bluecastle Capital from property development company Rightacres Property in a multi-million pound deal.

Bluecastle Capital will now take forward plans – for which planning consent is already in place – for a 35-storey build-to-rent (BTR) apartment scheme. When completed, it will provide 364 apartments. The development will also have a retail pavilion and additional residential amenity space.

Ed Williams, Chief Executive of Bluecastle Capital, said: “This acquisition represents a significant investment for Bluecastle and is our first project located in the Cardiff Capital Region. The site is extremely well located in the heart of Cardiff city centre, with excellent transport links and access to local employment hubs. As a location, Cardiff offers extremely attractive benefits, including a thriving local economy and is projected to be one of the UK’s fastest growing cities over the next two decades.”

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Bluecastle said it was too early, having just begun the process of drawing up detailed plans, to give an indication of when work could begin and be completed.

Following a career in equity markets at Merrill Lynch, Mr Williams, who was born and raised in Cardiff, founded Bluecastle Capital in 2015. The London-based firm has structured, developed and managed assets worth over £3 billion in real estate projects.

Having identified the BTR market as having significant growth potential, as well as its Cardiff scheme, it has a total of 1,000 apartments in its development pipeline. Its other schemes under development are in Stevenage and Sheffield. The UK BTR sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK housing market, attracting around £4bn of investment by 2023. Bluecastle believes it is well positioned to become one of the UK’s leading developers and operators of BTR assets.

The exact value of Bluecastle’s land deal with Rightacres has not been disclosed, but it is believed to be in the region of £15 million. The site was marketed on behalf of Rightacres by property consultancy firm Knight Frank through its Cardiff office. On the potential for more BTR projects in the city, Mr Williams said: “We are committed to Cardiff as a location and see huge potential for the BTR sector within the city.”

Bluecastle will operate the Central scheme when completed.

Lot 5, a relatively small area of ​​land next to the HMRC headquarters building, is the last remaining development site in Central Square, where, over the past decade, Rightacres has delivered 1.25 million sq ft of mixed-use space – of which around 850,000 sq ft is Grade A office space. The scheme is a major employment location for the city, boosted by its proximity to Cardiff Central Station, with its tenants employing thousands of people.

Under its chief executive Paul McCarthy, its first project in Central Square – on the site of Cardiff Council’s former planning offices – was its 140,000 sq ft Central Square office building 1. The first tenant to sign for the building, which opened in 2016, was law firm Blake Morgan. Rightacres, with advance funding from L&G, then added the 150,000 sq ft Central Square building 2, whose main occupier is law firm Hugh James, before being selected, after a competitive bidding process, to deliver a new 180,000 sq ft headquarters building for BBC Wales on the site of the former bus station. The BBC building also has retail units at ground level.

Central Square also provided a new 270,000 sq ft headquarters for HMRC in Wales (Ty Morgan), although it is also used by other UK government departments including the Welsh Office.

The Central Square Interchange scheme, which consists of a new city headquarters for L&G, over 300 BTR apartments for L&G Homes and a new bus station for the city, which opened recently, was its fourth project. The Interchange provides 120,000 sq ft of office space for L&G, which last year brought its two city offices under one roof. Its apartment and bus station elements span 500,000 sq ft.