Construction of a new £83.7m convention centre at the Celtic Manor, Newport, will start work in March. It is expected to have an economic impact for the wide city region of £70m a year.
Funding has been agreed by the hotel itself and the Welsh Government, which has facilitated a loan repayable on commercial terms and will have an equal 50 % stake. Natwest has provided a £51.5m loan to support the venture. It will officially be known as the International Convention Wales (ICC Wales).
The centre, due to open June 2019, will house 1,500 seats in an auditorium a separate exhibition hall and will accommodate up to 5,000 delegates. This will enable the ICC to host large scale political party conferences.
It has been confirmed that the principal building contractor is John Sisk and Son. When completed it is forecast the centre will be the largest of its type in Wales and south west England.
Celtic Manor Resort chair Sir Terry Matthews said:
“This International Convention Centre has been many years in the planning and I am delighted that we are now in a position to build and deliver this facility that will be such an asset to Wales.
“In the past, we’ve been forced to turn away hundreds of millions of pounds of business because we did not have the capacity to hold the largest conferences. Not any longer.”
Excavation work is already underway on the land next to the existing convention centre and the hotel. A 2,5000 sq m plaza is planned, with an extra exhibition area and 700 parking spaces underneath the centre.
Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates AM added:
“This will be a major asset for Wales, enabling us to compete with any venue in the UK and indeed Europe to attract and host key events that make a huge contribution to the economy.”
With generous seating and parking space, in total the ICC will boast 26,000 sq ft of space. It will have a further five meeting rooms that will create a further five flexible spaces, advanced technology services and fully integrated visual and audio facilities, plus access to outdoor networking areas on all levels.
It was originally going to be named Wales International Convention Centre. However, it was agreed that ICC would follow suit with the branding of other UK convention centres such as ICC Birmingham and ICC Edinburgh
The Celtic Manor hosted world leaders at the 2014 Wales Summit of NATO while its adjoining golf course staged golf’s 2010 Ryder Cup.