The Innovation Matrix, as it is known, is being built by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) at its waterfront campus. It will be occupied mainly by companies which develop or are highly dependent on digital technology, and health-related businesses. These companies will also be expected to liaise closely with the university and benefit the regional economy.
The building is being funded via the £1.25 billion private-public sector city deal for the Swansea Bay region, which covers Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. When the plans were first unveiled in May 2022, the completion target was September 2023 and the budget was £9.3 million.
University representatives told city deal leaders at a joint committee meeting on February 8 that the project would be completed within its “budget parameters” and that the expected completion date was June 18.
UWTSD professor Ian Walsh, one of those overseeing the project, said: “We are fairly confident of getting close to 100% occupancy by June.”
He added: “We are looking for companies and businesses which will benefit from a partnership with the university, and vice-versa.”
Occupiers would have access to a manufacturing centre, testing laboratories and 3D printing facilities in UWSTD’s IQ building next door. The university is also looking for an operator to fit out and run a cafe in the Innovation Matrix.
A report before the joint committee cited a review of the project, which identified a number positive aspects and concluded that a successful delivery was “probable”. But it added that the construction budget had very little flexibility.
The longer-term plan is to add to this building with a so-called Innovation Precinct development – worth some £17 million – but establishing its purpose, rising construction costs and securing private sector investment remain a challenge. A location also needs to be agreed. The joint committee report said: “There are ongoing discussions regarding potential locations, looking at the original SA1 and also city centre, with useful discussions already underway with Swansea Council and their regeneration partners.”
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