Building work on the new International Convention Centre Wales has now commenced and was celebrated by a ground breaking ceremony on the site at the Celtic Manor Resort.
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones joined Sir Terry Matthews, Chairman of the Celtic Manor Resort; Stephen Bowcott, Chief Executive of principal constructor Sisk Group; and Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, to mark the official start of the two year project by symbolically digging soil on the building site’s massive footprint.
Once complete in 2019, ICC Wales will provide total floor space for meetings, conferences, exhibitions and events of 26,000sqm – the equivalent size to nearly four international rugby pitches.
An £83.7m joint venture between Celtic Manor and Welsh Government, ICC Wales will accommodate 5,000 delegates and includes a 4,000sqm pillar-free main hall, a 1,500 seated auditorium, 12 flexible meeting rooms, a double-height glass atrium and a 2,500sqm outdoor plaza.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“The International Convention Centre Wales is vital to fulfilling our ambition of making Wales a leading international destination for business. In order to compete in a highly competitive international market, Wales needs a convention centre of this quality and size. A world-class venue such as this will allow us to capitalise on Wales’ growing reputation as a destination for major events. The Celtic Manor has already demonstrated its ability to host global events and I’m confident our partnership with them on this project will deliver significant economic benefits for Wales.”
Sir Terry Matthews, Chairman of the Celtic Manor Resort, said:
“ICC Wales will be a game changer for the country on the international business events scene. For far too long, Wales has not had the share of this lucrative market that the country deserves. This is going to change. I’m positive that we have begun a new era in staging major events in Wales and our new state-of-the-art convention centre will continue that momentum for decades to come. It’s an incredibly proud moment for me to see this amazing project start to come to life and I pay tribute to the leadership of our partners in both public and private sectors who have helped to make this dream a reality.”
Stephen Bowcott, Chief Executive of constructor Sisk Group, said:
“We are delighted to bring our international experience to this iconic project and to work with a truly progressive client. As a result of the extensive collaboration between Sir Terry Matthew’s team, the Welsh Government, Newport City Council and all of the construction experts, we believe the Convention Centre will leave a legacy that we can all be proud of. On completion ICC Wales will, I am sure, receive international commendation. The project also marks a proud return to Wales for the Sisk Group and is one of several projects we are committed to deliver in the country in the near future.”
Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said:
“We believe ICC Wales is a fantastic development for the city which will bring great benefits to local businesses and the economy. Newport has a proven track record in hosting world class events and ICC Wales means there will now be a first class venue to enable more major events to take place. As we mark this important milestone, I would like to pay tribute to Sir Terry’s vision and commitment to this project and look forward to even more international visitors coming to Newport and discovering what our dynamic city has to offer as it continues to regenerate and thrive.”
Representatives from the events industry in Wales and throughout the rest of the UK also attended the ground breaking ceremony, demonstrating the wide range of support for the project. More than 300 guests will also attend a Gala Dinner to celebrate “Building Brilliance” during the evening.
In a further show of confidence, ICC Wales has already confirmed the first ever event that will take place at the new venue, two years ahead of opening. Celtic Manor Resort will play host to the brand new “Hospitality & Catering” EXPO in both July 2018 and 2019, the latter marking the inauguration of ICC Wales.