South Wales developer LoftCo has bought the Grade II listed Albert Hall in Swansea and despite current doubts about the short-and mid-term future of the night time economy, is planning to spend £7m on stripping it out and refurbishing it.
It is planned that the new-style Albert Hall will include a rooftop bar, serviced apartments and around 2,000 sq m of office space as well as a music venue with capacity for 900 people.
LoftCo director Simon Baston said: "I'm thrilled to acquire the Albert Hall from its private owners - and I look forward to making it a location which the people of Swansea can enjoy and be proud of. It has a wonderful heritage and now has an exciting future."
He has been working with Swansea Council to secure the necessary grants and loans. Council leader Rob Stewart said: "I'm delighted that another landmark building will be brought back to life and saved for future generations; it reaffirms that Swansea city centre has a great future, helped by hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment from the private and public sectors.
"The Albert Hall – like the Palace Theatre that's also being saved by the council – is important to the city. It has been an essential part of the community and its social life for a century and a half.
"Although the Albert Hall it isn't owned by the council and so the future is a matter for its owners, we have been working hard to support efforts to secure public sector funding for the building as part of the ongoing city regeneration. The council continues to work with the Welsh government towards securing funding and options for a sustainable future use for this special building.”
The stone-built Albert Hall, with its three-storey auditorium, is on the corner of De-La Beche Street and Cradock Street. It opened in 1864 as a public assembly and concert venue known as The Music Hall, Swansea, with a 2,500 capacity. It was renamed the Albert Hall in 1882.
It became a cinema in the 1920s, a bingo hall in 1978 and has been closed since 2007.