Work Starts to Turn Former Shopping Centre into Business Park

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Work has started on the redevelopment of the Festival Park site at Ebbw Vale to create a new mixed-use business centre.

Owners Birmingham-based Mercia Real Estate Ltd are creating 39 industrial units totalling 84,202 sq ft for businesses and logistic operators on the 70 acre site, which was chosen in 1992 to be the last British Garden Festival site.

The redevelopment work, which is set to be completed by the summer, includes modifying some of the existing units and removing their canopies, dismantling other units to create more yard space, parking, roads, and paths, and resurfacing the central mall walkway to create a spine access road.  The 39  units being created range from 958 sq ft to 7,546 sq ft in size and will be able to offer a range of business uses from light industrial, trade counter and storage  together with plans for a gym operator and creche to provide facilities to occupiers and the wider residential area.

Mercia Real Estate acquired the site – which is currently unoccupied  – in 2021 and was granted planning permission earlier this year to go ahead with the changes.

Chief executive officer Samuel Clark said:

“We are confident that the much-needed redevelopment of Festival Park will be an attractive proposition to new and existing businesses and will provide a range of unit sizes to enable successful small businesses to expand over time without ever needing to leave the site to find larger premises.”

The company has appointed the Cardiff office of global property consultancy Knight Frank to attract tenants to the completed centre.

Neil Francis, head of Knight Frank’s Industrial & Logistics division in Wales, said:

“There is a well-documented lack of quality business accommodation along the Heads of the Valleys, with a particular requirement for good, well-located units of 3,000 sq ft and less.

“The imaginative redevelopment of the Festival Park site, coupled with a willingness by the owners to be able to agree leases within a matter of weeks, will be an attractive proposition to local and national businesses.”

Ebbw Vale was chosen as the last British Garden Festival site in 1992 because of the waste land which had been the British Steel steel and tin works, which had been partly demolished in the early 1980s. The National Garden Festival ran from May until October 1992 and attracted more than two million visitors.

The site subsequently became home to a shopping centre with more than 30 shops alongside fairground attractions and plant exhibitions, but it has now been unused for several years.

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