Swansea's High Street is getting a £100m makeover with new shops, the revival of empty buildings and the restoration of an old theatre, Swansea Council has said. It said the investment aimed to make the street better for businesses, people living there and visitors to the city.

The council said the work would build on other big projects that have already been done on High Street in recent years. These include the first part of Coastal Housing's Urban Village development and upgrades around Swansea Railway Station. Swansea University has also opened the Oriel Science venue on Castle Street.

Its announcement comes days after WalesOnline reported on how a building was having to be demolished in High Street as it was unsafe. That news followed the demolition in 2022 of two other buildings which had to be pulled down for the same reason. You can read more on that story here.

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In its press release, Swansea Council said it was "leading the way" by restoring the Palace Theatre in High Street. It's being turned into a shared workspace and Welsh business Tramshed Tech will manage it. The work should be finished by the end of 2024, according to the local authority. For the latest Swansea news, sign up to our newsletter here

The next phase of the Urban Village development in Swansea
The next phase of the Urban Village development in Swansea
The old railway arches in the Strand, Swansea, are hoped to be brought back to life
The old railway arches in the Strand are hoped to be brought back to life

It said Coastal Housing had also bought the old H Phillips Electrical store on High Street, which has been empty for over ten years - this is the building having to be pulled down most recently - so it can make its Urban Village development bigger and better. Plans are also in place for a new two-storey commercial building with shipping container-style units and a six-storey housing development on Kings Lane, which connects High Street with The Strand.

There are also major improvements planned to better connect The Strand with High Street, thanks to a project by Swansea Council that's part-funded by the UK Government's levelling-up programme.

Businesses like Jack's Kitchen on the corner of High Street and College Street have already seen improvements through council grants, according to the press release, and Coastal Housing is planning to bring the old Kings Arms Tavern building on High Street back into use. Try WalesOnline Premium for FREE by clicking here for no ads, fun puzzles and brilliant new features

Extensive work is taking place at Swansea's Palace Theatre
Extensive work is taking place at Swansea's Palace Theatre

Freya Church, who works for the council's main contractor for the Palace Theatre scheme, R & M Williams, inside the building

Swansea Council Leader, Cllr Rob Stewart, said: "High Street is a key gateway in and out of the city centre, which is why the council and our partners are doing all we can to improve its look and feel." He added: "A lot more work is also planned in future to continue to improve the area for the benefit of local people, local businesses and visitors to the city as part of a £1bn overall city centre regeneration programme. High Street and its arcades have a fantastic mix of independent businesses from coffee, vinyl and clothes shops to restaurants, bars and specialist stores.

""All the work that's planned will boost these businesses, while also helping attract even more investment in future. We don't own the former Argos or Elysium cinema buildings, but we're doing all we can to work with the owners to help bring these buildings back into use too.

Kelly Thomas, executive director of development and regeneration at Coastal Housing, said: "We have a longstanding commitment to regenerating this area of the city centre, having invested over £30 million in High Street over the last decade or so and basing our office here within the Urban Village complex. Our future plans include more phases of Urban Village, adding more social housing and commercial units to help meet demand.

"Beyond our building activity, we are also keen to explore opportunities with the council for improving the pedestrian environment, continuing the excellent progress that has been made in this regard along The Kingsway, Castle Street and elsewhere in the city centre."

There are also plans to improve the Grand Hotel, including a living wall with plants added to the High Street side of the building and a rooftop area that's sown with greenery. A number of student developments have also opened in the High Street area in recent years. Cllr Stewart added: "There's a misconception out there that the council builds student developments. It doesn't, but these developments do mean far more people are living in the city centre, which is important because of their spending in city centre businesses. This safeguards local people's jobs and will help create more jobs in future."