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St Davids Dewi Sant, Cardiff

Mixed-use development in the heart of Cardiff

St. David’s Dewi Sant is a £675 million mixed-use development in the heart of Cardiff, delivering 250,000m2 of retail space including Wales’ biggest department store, a 27,000m² John Lewis. It also provides a new public library, 304 private and 27 affordable ownership apartments, 2500 car parking spaces and a basement service yard.

Arup was appointed by the St David’s Partnership to provide multidisciplinary engineering and consultancy services on the new retail scheme to RIBA Stage D, the Employer’s Requirements, as well as to provide client support throughout the construction and tenant fit-out period.

This is a unique development which blends the modern retail model with Cardiff’s traditional arcade feel. The structure was a fusion of reinforced concrete basement, a composite structural steel retail frame, and a post-tensioned concrete car park sitting above. This provides an economic solution and high quality finish, while maintaining adaptability to accommodate changes required by retail tenants.

Close liaison with the John Lewis Partnership ensured that their needs would be met while also enabling a rationalisation of their bespoke construction tolerance requirements to align them more to construction industry norms.

Post-completion structural alterations to suit incoming retail tenants’ needs often cause major disruption and cost. Anticipating this on the new development, Arup carried out an extensive exercise to optimise the balance between initial capital cost and future adaptability. This has paid dividends since the centre opened, reducing the disruption and hazards entailed in modifying the structure.

The development incorporates a large below ground service yard with steel transfer beams supporting the retail above. Construction of the service yard required the removal of 250,000m³ of material during the basement excavation and has allowed a single service point to the entire development, reducing servicing travel distances and avoiding many of the problems faced with city centre servicing.

St David’s Dewi Sant has been the single most influencing project on the regeneration of the Cardiff cityscape in recent history and has helped define Cardiff as a leading European fashion Capital
Lester Hampson Head of Retail Development, Land Securities