Western Mail - - BUSINESS IN WALES - Sion Barry Busi­ness edi­tor sion.barry@waleson­

A£65m con­tract to build a new pub­lic sec­tor hub which will em­ploy thou­sands of staff in the cen­tre of Cardiff has been awarded to Sir Robert McAlpine.

The project is the lat­est phase in the wider Cen­tral Square of­fice, res­i­den­tial and re­tail scheme from Cardiff-based prop­erty de­vel­op­ment firm Righ­tacres.

The 12-storey build­ing, which will ex­tend to more than 270,000 sq ft, is due for com­ple­tion at the end of 2019.

De­signed by ar­chi­tec­tural firm Gensler, it will house a new tax head­quar­ters for HMRC in Wales, which will re­lo­cate into the build­ing from its cur­rent HQ in the Llan­ishen area of Cardiff in 2020.

The move will al­low HMRC to sell its ex­ist­ing Llan­ishen site for re­de­vel­op­ment, po­ten­tially for a hous­ing-led re­gen­er­a­tion scheme.

Some 3,600 HMRC staff (full-time equiv­a­lent) will be based in the new build­ing.

Join­ing them will be the Wales Of­fice, with its cur­rent Cardiff Bay of­fice mov­ing into the hub. This opens up the prospect of it be­ing used for cab­i­net meet­ings of the UK Gov­ern­ment.

And as part of UK Gov­ern­ment plans to cre­ate a ma­jor pub­lic sec­tor hub, a num­ber of other non-de­volved civil ser­vice op­er­a­tions in Wales could join HMRC – tak­ing staff num­bers to around 4,000.

Other de­part­ments that could join HMRC and the Wales Of­fice at the hub in­clude the likes of the Min­istry of Jus­tice and the Depart­ment for Work and Pen­sions.

Six Cen­tral Square, on an un­de­vel­oped site which was for­merly the lo­ca­tion for the of­fices and print­ing presses of Me­dia Wales, could ac­com­mo­date up to 4,000, so has sig­nif­i­cant avail­able space be­yond that re­quired for up to 3,600 HMRC work­ers.

Righ­tacres also has plans for a fur­ther 180,000 sq ft of­fice build­ing next to the HMRC build­ing, which could also house other pub­lic sec­tor de­part­ments.

Paul McCarthy, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Righ­tacres, said: “Sir Robert McAlpine played a big part in help­ing us se­cure the hub to Cen­tral Square.

“They have fan­tas­tic lo­cal team each of whom has an im­pres­sive port­fo­lio and we look for­ward to work­ing with them to de­liver this project.”

Peter Munn, Wales and West man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “We are de­lighted to have been ap­pointed fol­low­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tive di­a­logue with Righ­tacres in de­vel­op­ing pro­pos­als and reach­ing con­tract award.

“The com­mence­ment of the con­struc­tion work marks a key mile­stone for the project for which we are very proud to be a part of, and we look for­ward to work­ing closely with all stake­hold­ers in re­al­is­ing this ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment.”

Sec­re­tary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “This Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing the best-qual­ity pub­lic ser­vices in ev­ery corner of the UK.

“This new build is great news for Cardiff, and will de­liver a range of ben­e­fits to peo­ple in the cap­i­tal and be­yond, from im­proved pub­lic space and trans­port, to em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties dur­ing con­struc­tion.”

Rus­sell Good­way, Cardiff Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment, said: “The de­ci­sion to lo­cate the new UK Gov­ern­ment Hub at Cen­tral Square ef­fec­tively con­firms how right we as a coun­cil were back in 2013 to take the de­ci­sion to re­gen­er­ate this part of the city.”

Huw Thomas, leader of Cardiff coun­cil added: “Cen­tral Square con­tin­ues to de­liver both con­struc­tion and per­ma­nent jobs in what is de facto now our busi­ness district. By 2020 the lo­ca­tion will be home to over 10,000 work­ers – the eco­nomic im­pact will be colos­sal.”

McAlpine’s team on the project in­cludes Arup as both struc­tural and me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neers and MACE as project man­agers.

Other projects al­ready de­liv­ered or un­der con­struc­tion at Cen­tral Square are:

The now fully let One Cen­tral Square of­fice scheme, which ex­tends to 135,000 sq ft and em­ploys more than 1,000 staff through ten­ants in­clud­ing law firm Blake Mor­gan and car fi­nance spe­cial­ists Mo­toNovo.

A new 150,000 sq ft head­quar­ters for BBC Cymru Wales, which will see 1,200 of the pub­lic ser­vice broad­cast­ers’ staff be­gin­ning a phased move from au­tumn 2019.

The 135,000 sq ft No 2 Cen­tral Square of­fice scheme, which will be ready for oc­cu­pancy next sum­mer and is al­ready fully pre-let to law firm Hugh James and Cardiff Univer­sity’s School of Jour­nal­ism, Me­dia and Cul­ture Stud­ies.

> An artist’s im­pres­sion of the next phase of Cardiff’s Cen­tral Square de­vel­op­ment, where HMRC will be based

> The site of the pub­lic sec­tor hub at Cen­tral Square in the cen­tre of Cardiff

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