The Pavilion at Copr Bay Swansea

Swansea Regeneration - creating a post-pandemic city centre

The regeneration of Swansea city centre is one of the largest urban transformations currently being delivered in the UK

Recent coverage of Swansea regeneration featured in Retail Destination, for the full article please see link below.

Over £1 billion is being invested across the city, with a view to raise the profile of the Welsh city to become one of the most vibrant places to live, work, visit and study in the UK.

With the pandemic having emphasised the importance of mixed-use high streets, including the increased need for leisure and public spaces for the entire community to enjoy, the first phase of Swansea’s Copr Bay project, driven by the Council’s vision, aims to show the way forward for town and city centres across the UK in a post-pandemic world.

The leisure-led, £135 million Copr Bay phase one is the first stage of the reimagining of the city, centred around a new arena run by a world leading operator of live entertainment venues. Cllr Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, says that Copr Bay has been a major catalyst for change since the works began.

“The leisure and F&B-led scheme is anchored around a 3,500-capacity live performance arena and conference centre, operated by The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG),” tells Stewart. “It includes a striking new pedestrian and cyclist bridge that better connects the city to its sweeping coastline; a landscaped coastal part with a 1,500 sq ft café and pizzeria; and over 8,000 sq ft of other F&B space encompassing a range of independent cafés, restaurants and shops.”

The ‘game-changing’ Swansea Arena is expected to host 160 performances across music, comedy, theatre, esports and conference events for an estimated 230,000 visitors each year.

The space has been designed so that it can host a broad range of live performance and entertainment, bringing new audiences to the city whilst providing local people with global entertainment on their doorstep. And around 60 of the events will be exhibitions, conferences, graduations, and other business-led events.

Phase one is scheduled to open later this autumn, and is creating around 1,260 construction jobs, with hundreds more long-term jobs will come when it’s operational and which Stewart says will add tens of millions of pounds to the local economy every year.

Eat out to help out

In a recent step towards its community-focused ambitions, Swansea Council announced that local family-owned restaurant group The Secret Hospitality Group will run a day-to-night service at the 1,400 sq ft restaurant and café. The venue has dubbed itself as an environmentally friendly and architecturally eye-catching venue where residents and visitors will enjoy a relaxed café by day and a buzzing pizzeria by night.

The Secret Hospitality Group’s newest restaurant is due to open towards the end of the year and has full capacity for 60 covers plus outside seating. The family-run and locally-based restaurant group is owned and run by Ryan and Lucy Hole, who also own The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen and The Optimist Bar & Kitchen, both in Swansea. The newest restaurant in the group will join the others by having its produce supplied by local businesses, further supporting the Swansea economy.

Sustainability is at the heart of the restaurant, which has been designed by Pinelog, a member of the Green Register, to feature materials from sustainable sources and local provenance. The restaurant’s design is focused on renewable energy to lower carbon emissions and uses solar panels to contribute to the power requirements, to minimise its environmental footprint.

Owner Ryan Hole says that whilst it might seem an odd decision to commit to a new restaurant during the pandemic, they did not think twice when this opportunity came knocking. “Swansea Council’s £1 billion transformation of the city is a vote of confidence in the future of the area and will offer opportunities to people like us and businesses like ours,” he explains.

“Our latest restaurant will be a new landmark for Swansea, part of a brand new destination for residents and visitors to enjoy great food and drink, and just a stone’s throw away from the Arena and our stunning coastline. We’re thrilled to be a part of the transformation of our city and to play a part in it.”

Sustainable future

The regeneration was announced back in 2019, but rather than causing a complete rethink of what a post-pandemic city centre should be, it vindicated the vision for the city the council had already been planning, which Stewart says has become more significant than ever.

“Our vision for the regeneration, and Copr Bay phase one in particular, has been one that is leisure-led, sustainability-focused, and local-first,” says Stewart. “Each part of this is so important in creating vibrant city centres, places where people want to live, study, work, shop and visit in a post-pandemic world and is vital if we want to build back better and create investment in our communities.”

Copr Bay phase one, which is being delivered by the Council working alongside development manager RivingtonHark, the town and city centre regeneration specialists, has community at its heart. It has previously announced that the 33 new homes being built as part of the scheme, in an enviable location near the arena and the coastal park, will be run by Wales’ largest social housing provider, Pobl Group.

Future phases will be driven by Swansea Council, with Copr Bay phase two and further regeneration projects across the city, set to kick off in the near future. Stewart says that Copr Bay phase one has focused on creating a new leisure district for the city, helping better connect the city to the sea and building new affordable homes. The next phase in the wider regeneration will look at further F&B, retail, housing and workspaces.

“We want to show that there’s a bright post-pandemic future for high streets across the UK – and that Swansea will emerge as a wonderful, modern, attractive, 21st century destination,” Stewart adds.

“The council-led regeneration of Swansea is about much more than the bricks and mortar; it’s about jobs, opportunities and securing a positive future. It’s about creating a unique and memorable place to live, work and enjoy – to the benefit of the people and businesses of our city and those who plan to visit us or make Swansea their home.”

Link to article: Swansea Regeneration – Retail Destination

From Shopping Bags to Swimming Trunks - the changing face of the Shopping Centre

Puddle Ducks, leading baby and child swimming school, opens a state-of-the-art swimming pool in Barons Quay

Barons Quay opened five years ago and since then the retail sector has been through a time of unprecedented change. Since completion, RivingtonHark on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council have been working to evolve the leasing strategy in response to the dramatic shift in the retail landscape, to create a compelling shopping and leisure destination.

With large units designed for multi-site retailers that had stopped expanding, we had to get creative with the scheme’s usage. We brought in Sticky Paws, a 9,000 sq ft restaurant and adventure play concept from the owners of the nationally acclaimed Cheshire Ice Cream Farm tourist attraction. The first of its kind, offering fuss-free dining experience for parents and a lot of fun for kids. With no need to leave the table, guests can order at their convenience with the tap of a finger from a Digi iPad menu, allowing the kids to play or eat as and when they please.

Other leisure occupiers joined the scheme including Radio Northwich, the town’s own radio station, Geek Retreat, and Bear Coffee, giving Barons Quay a true mixed leisure offering.

This month saw the opening of Puddle Ducks, a 3,500 sq ft swimming pool, and the first ever to be built in a retail unit. This state of the art facility will serve as the brand’s flagship location for swimming lessons and teacher training. The unit also includes office space to house the mid Cheshire Puddle Ducks staff. Kitted out with high-spec and child-friendly facilities, the pool will allow families to enjoy learning to swim in an inclusive and accessible environment.

Although the landscape has changed significantly in the past five years, the consumer’s appetite for experiences has only grown. By adapting, evolving and supporting operators to take chances on new ideas, combined with more traditional retail & leisure operators like H&M, River Island, ASDA and Odeon we have made Barons Quay a great place to shop and spend time.

Redical enters the UK retail market with the acquisition of Clayton Square Shopping Centre in Liverpool

RivingtonHark are retained strategic advisors to support Redical Holdings on their expansion into the UK retail market

Stephenson Harwood and Time Retail acted for Redical on the purchase, whilst Maples Teesdale and KLM advised the vendor on the sale. Redical has appointed RivingtonHark as an asset advisor and Reset Asset Management as an asset manager for Clayton Square.

Clayton Square is a 170,000 sq ft shopping centre in the centre of Liverpool. The asset comprises 24 units let to a range of occupiers including Boots, McDonalds, Tesco, EE and B&M. Purchase price was at or around the original £21 million asking price.

Redical acquired the asset on an unleveraged basis with the backing from its founders and institutional co-investors. Redical has announced its intention to acquire further assets in this space, with a view to build a portfolio of “fit for purpose” UK shopping centres on a buy-and-hold basis.

Mark Williams, Executive Director of Rivington Hark, commented: “We are excited to see Redical entering the UK retail sector with long-term capital and fresh ideas, and we look forward to working together with the Redical team to further revitalise and future-proof selected retail assets.”

Clayton Square

Climbing to new heights in Southend!

Indirock to open new bouldering wall in Victoria Shopping Centre

RivingtonHark are delighted to announce that a deal has been signed to bring bouldering wall business Indirock to The Victoria Centre in Southend.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council purchased The Victoria Centre in December 2020 as part of their town centre regeneration strategy. This letting to Indirock reflects the ambition of delivering activities within the centre that broaden the customer appeal and strengthen footfall.

The bouldering wall – which will be housed in a 7,500 square foot former retail unit on the first floor – represents an exciting shift in the use of retail space within the centre and promises to bring new footfall into the town. The aim for Indirock is very much to offer an enjoyable yet challenging climbing experience for all levels of ability and will help develop confidence and fitness in a friendly and supportive environment.

The letting not only helps activate an empty space within a key entrance to the shopping centre but also fits in with the councils wider health and wellbeing strategy and promotes local businesses throughout the community. Local baker Hugo’s Pantry will be running the coffee shop inside Indirock which will serve a range of sweet and savoury bites alongside barista coffee and other drinks.

Mark Harvey, Executive Director and Head of Asset Management at RivingtonHark says: “This letting is an important first step in our journey to revitalise the centre and, in particular, our aim of bringing in more leisure and community based facilities. It has been great to deal with the Co-founders of the business who are passionate about the project and the positive impact this initiative will bring to the local community. We share their vision and think that Indirock is the perfect catalyst for our wider plans for the asset and we cannot wait to see them open their doors later in the year.”


To take a virtual tour of what is planned for the unit please follow this link 360 Tour – Indirock (

The Pavilion at Copr Bay Swansea

Swansea regeneration puts the creation of opportunities for local businesses and residents front-and-centre

Swansea Council has signed the Secret Hospitality Group to operate the landmark restaurant at the city's £135m Copr Bay development

The leisure-led Copr Bay phase one development is the first stage of the regeneration of the city. The 1,400 sq ft pizzeria and café is set to open towards the end of the year with around 60 covers plus outside seating. The Secret Hospitality Group is owned and run by Ryan and Lucy Hole, who also own the Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen and the Optimist Bar & Kitchen, both in Swansea.

Ryan Hole said: “While it might seem an odd decision to commit to a new restaurant during the pandemic, we did not think twice when this opportunity came knocking. Swansea Council’s £1b transformation of the city is a vote of confidence in the future of the area and will offer opportunities to people like us and businesses like ours. Our latest restaurant will be a new landmark for Swansea, part of a brand new destination for residents and visitors to enjoy great food and drink, and just a stone’s throw away from the Arena and our stunning coastline. We’re thrilled to be a part of the transformation of our city and to play a part in it.”

The restaurant has been designed by Pinelog using materials from sustainable sources and local provenance, as well as focusing on renewable energy to lower carbon emissions such as solar panels. Copr Bay phase one is being delivered by the council working alongside development manager RivingtonHark.

Spencer Winter, projects director of RivingtonHark, added: “The pandemic has shaken up our society and we now have the opportunity to decide in which order we put the pieces back together. Even before Covid, town and city centres across the UK were changing; post-pandemic, they have to. Swansea is a pioneering example of what an ambitious local authority can do when it has a vision for improving its city for its community and for those who may consider making it their home.

“Copr Bay Phase One, with its focus on the things that bring us moments of relaxation like the park to those that bring us unforgettable experiences like the arena, will show that our high streets can be reimagined and that the pieces will fit, for the benefit of everyone.”

The Pavilion at Copr Bay Swansea


RivingtonHark is delighted to welcome two new members

RivingtonHark is delighted to welcome two new team members who join to support the growth of the business

Will Ashdown joins as Asset Manager following 7 years working within the Property and Asset Management dept at JLL. He has worked on retail and leisure assets for a breadth of clients including RailPen, Legal & General and Ingka (Ikea) delivering innovative solutions to place making and centre activation across numerous assets.

Sergy Yushchenko will be working as investment and development analyst supporting the work being done on the existing portfolio in addition to evaluating new acquisition opportunities. Sergy is a trained architect having previously worked at PLP Architecture and Kohn Pedersen Fox on a variety of mixed use schemes. Having studied real estate and investment at Cass Business School Sergy has refocused on investment and development analyst work.

Mark Harvey, Director and Head of Asset Management at RivingtonHark says: “I am delighted to welcome Will and Sergy to the team. They are joining us at an exciting time for the business. Will has a great deal of experience in managing complex town centre assets and his ability to deliver customer focused, sustainable assets is a key part of what RivingtonHark does. We are also seeing a number of interesting acquisition opportunities in the shopping and town centre space and both Will and Sergy’s background and skillsets will play a key part evaluating these and delivering further growth to the business.”

RivingtonHark’s Executive Director David Lewis visits the transformational Copr Bay scheme in Swansea

David Lewis, Executive Director comments on his visit to Copr Bay

David Lewis, Executive Director took a site visit and a guided tour of Copr Bay with colleague and project lead, Spencer Winter and our client, Swansea Council.  Phase 1 is centred on a new, iconic, 3,500 capacity live entertainment venue and conference centre. The project also provides extensive new public realm, a hotel, 33 residential units, new A3 uses and new public parking against a background of a digitally enabled infrastructure.

David said “the tour took about 2 hours and the buzz and excitement on site is tangible. I got to walk across the new bridge and it is truly spectacular! The landscape of Swansea has changed and you can really see how this is the start of a major renaissance of the city.”

At RivingtonHark, we are immensely proud to be Development Managers on such a significant scheme and thoroughly enjoy working with our on-site partners Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd and our client Swansea Council.

RivingtonHark Opens North West Office

Sarah McVicar is leading the opening of RivingtonHark’s new office in the North West.

This follows the successful growth of assets under management in the region and signals the Company’s commitment to its growing client base. RivingtonHark currently manages assets and projects in Liverpool, Chester, Runcorn, Bury, Winsford and Northwich. All are undergoing positive change and evolution in different ways.


Sarah said “RivingtonHark’s expansion in the North West reflects our confidence in the region. Now, with a local base, we can add even more value for our clients and further support our ambitions for these exciting projects. I am looking forward to driving forward this very important part of the business .”


Mark Harvey Head of Asset Management at  RivingtonHark said “Opening an office in the North West means we are better placed to serve our expanding number of clients in the region. We are incredibly excited by the increased level of investment in the North and the opportunity to revitalise town centres through asset intervention which is at the heart of what we do.”

New drone footage showing progress of Swansea’s emerging Copr Bay phase one district

Copr Bay phase one is being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development manager RivingtonHark

The video and photos give a latest bird’s eye view of attractions including Swansea Arena, the 1.1-acre coastal park and the landmark Copr Bay bridge. These new attractions will combine with new affordable apartments, business spaces and plenty of new car parking to make up the £135m Copr Bay phase one scheme. Its construction is being led by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The stunning new video footage and photos show even further progress for construction of the Copr Bay phase one district which includes the 3,500-capacity Swansea Arena, a major new coastal park, the landmark Copr Bay bridge and many other features.

“Construction progress throughout the pandemic has been significant, which is testament to all involved – from council officers and our main contractor to our development managers and sub-contractors, who have adhered to Covid safe working practices at all times.

“With construction of this new vibrant new district on track for completion this autumn, it means Swansea’s economy is in a very strong place to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

“This scheme forms part of an on-going £1bn regeneration story that will transform Swansea into one of the UK’s best places to live, work, study and visit.”

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) will run the Swansea Arena, once it’s open.

Swansea Council is financing Copr Bay Phase One, with some funding for the arena coming from the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The Copr Bay bridge is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel fund.

Andrew Goodwin

Rivington Hark appoints head of Local Authority Partnerships

RivingtonHark has further bolstered its team with the appointment of Andrew Goodwin to lead its expanding public sector business

Andrew will build on the existing public sector platform that the business has established in an area where RivingtonHark sees tremendous value from their experience in delivering change.

Andrew has extensive experience in establishing working partnerships with local authorities having led town centre, regeneration, and London development teams in Donaldsons, DTZ and CBRE. More recently he formed Courts Mount Associates and ongoing work from that business will merge with the RivingtonHark portfolio.

David Lewis, Executive Director RivingtonHark said “Andrew joins us at an incredibly exciting time of growth in this important part of our business. Our urban environment needs increasingly sophisticated solutions to maintain their relevance as we emerge from the current disruption and both the public and private sectors continue to seek experienced specialist assistance to devise and manage the required change. Andrew will be a great addition to the team and brings with him a wealth of highly relevant experience”

Andrew Goodwin