Long-awaited plans for a winter sports complex – featuring an ice arena and real-snow indoor ski slope – in Cardiff Bay are set to take a major step forward this week.
In their last act before next month’s local elections, Cardiff Council’s ruling executive body will on Thursday be asked to approve a head of terms agreement with developer Greenbank Partnerships.
In January, a subsidiary of the Lancashire-based developer, Helium Miracle 113, was chosen as the council’s preferred developer for the final phase of the International Sports Village (ISV).
According to the construction programme for the £200m scheme, Greenbank Partnerships will start on the 3,100 seat dual-pad ice arena in February next year.
Work will then start on the snow facility, which will have a 160m by 45m slope overlooking the Bay and a 50m by 50m nursery slope, in July next year.
The “shell and core” of the ice arena – the new home of the Cardiff Devils – will be completed by May 31, 2014, in time for the start of the 2014-15 ice hockey season.
The financial details of the deal have not been made public for reasons of commercial confidentiality.
However, under the agreement, the council will sign over the land on a 999-year lease at peppercorn rent and have the option to acquire the freehold following completion of the ice arena and ski slope.
If the developer fails to deliver the ice arena and ski slope then the council has the power to forfeit the lease, according to a report to councillors.
Later phases, scheduled to start in 2014, include a 1,800sqm “snow world” for children, as well as shops, restaurants and a plaza.
Beneath the ski slope will be a 130-bedroom three star hotel. The plan – drawn up by architects Scott Brownrigg – also includes a 300-bed six star hotel.
Jonathan Smith, of Greenbank Partnerships, has previously said the scheme would set a new benchmark for winter leisure complexes.
He said: “We are raising the quality so that you don’t feel that you are in a tin shed – you will be able to look out over the Bay while you are skiing.
“There is no point building another scheme like at Milton Keynes or Tamworth, they are the old school of how it was done. There is a lot more competition for money now and we have to rise to that challenge.”
Greenbank Partnerships plan to build a residential development, known as Cardiff Pointe, on the peninsula next to the winter sports complex.
The 600 units will be comprised of two towers, standing 18 and 24 storeys high, as well as a mixture of townhouses and detached homes.
A planning application will be submitted in May and construction should start in December.