Old Swansea observ­atory set to open as a seafront café bar

After 3 years stood empty and disused, the Old Observatory, known as Marina Towers will be presented a new lease of life, in the form of a café bar and holiday apartment.  

Inside the old Swansea Observatory

The iconic building situated in the prime location of the seafront, close to the city centre, has been unanimously approved by owners Swansea Council to be leased and converted into a café bar with holiday accommodation on the top floor of the two towers.

Noah Redfern, owner of the popular Uplands venue Noah's Yard, submitted plans for the redevelopment and re-purposing of the building in 2012.  The application pointed out that previous cafés in the area have dwindled and been turned in to residential apartments.

The plans include the following developments:

  • build two extensions to create a ground and first floor café bar
  • install a new balcony
  • create an area for staff
  • add a one-bedroom holiday let
  • install solar panels

Noah Redfern described his vision:

"It will offer Italian-inspired food as well as ice cream, hoping to recreate that lost and forgotten way of the traditional ice cream dishes, with banana splits and affogato to name but a few.

"I also intend to have a jazz night there, too, which could hold easily the best jazz setting in the UK. What gets better than a moon over a perfect ocean bay overlooking Mumbles?"

A small number of local oppositions were heard, mainly concerned with parking facilities, residential disturbance and late-night revellry.  However Mr Redfern reassured that he intends to only operate before midnight, except on New Year's Eve and that an additional pay and display carpark will be in operation before the new venue is expected to open in October 2013.

It is refreshing to see elements of Welsh business and the local economy surviving the long-drawn out recession by employing fresh ideas for regeneration; just what Swansea is crying out for.  Da iawn!

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