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Jennings Building restoration nears completion

13 July 2017

A coffee lounge has already added a new blend to the historic Jennings Building on Porthcawl seafront, and two other businesses will also be opening there in the next few weeks.

The prominent Grade II listed building, which had lain derelict for several years, has been transformed by Wales-based developers ABA Holdings after Bridgend County Borough Council granted them a long-term lease on the property.

ABA Holdings have invested £2.5m in the project, with support from Finance Wales and Townscape Heritage Initiative Funding provided via Bridgend County Borough Council from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cadw.

Last month, the Coffi Co Lounge opened for business on the ground floor of the Jennings Building, and two new eateries – a pizzeria and a restaurant – will be joining them soon.

The 5,000 square foot ‘Harbour Bar & Grill’ will be a theatre-style kitchen bar and restaurant complete with a full height atrium, while Double Zero Pizzas will occupy a third ground floor unit.

The upper level of the building will feature 13 ‘live-work’ units with loft bedrooms that will enable occupants to live and work on site.

Coffi Co are also going to be serving from the former Customs House building, which can be found between the Jennings Building and the Old Pilot’s Lookout Tower.

Councillor Charles Smith, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “The Jennings Building is an iconic building along the waterfront that has been vacant for many years, so it’s wonderful to see its regeneration nearing completion. I, like many others, have kept a close eye on the development as it has progressed and it was exciting to see the first business open there recently.

“This is huge news for Porthcawl and a real landmark development that can become an attractive focal point for local people and visitors alike.

“Allied with the recent improvements to the Marina, the Maritime Centre proposal, and the fact that thousands of visitors will be coming to Porthcawl for the Senior Open later this month, these are extremely exciting times for the town.”

The Jennings Building is widely considered to be one of the few remaining early dockside warehouse buildings from its era in South Wales.

Built in 1832, it was originally constructed as the southern terminus of the Dyffryn Llynfi Porthcawl horse-drawn tram road, which was used to transport iron and coal from the Llynfi Valley, and was more recently used as an indoor skatepark.

Councillor Smith added: “The Townscape Heritage Initiative in the Porthcawl harbour area has made over £1m worth of funding available for us to work with building owners and local organisations on the sensitive repair and restoration of historic premises, structures and open spaces, all using traditional materials and skills.

“As well as giving the Jennings Building a new lease of life, the scheme has also seen the grade II listed Customs House brought back to its original condition, with its doors, windows and slate roof reinstated, and the exterior stonework repaired.

“Another project that we are equally proud of is the way that the scheme has helped us to bring the Old Pilot Lookout Tower – another listed building – back into use. After being restored, the building was handed over to the National Coastwatch Institution, who are now using it to keep our shores safe.

“We are extremely proud of our heritage and the THI scheme has enabled us to bring vacant historic buildings back to their former glory, and celebrate the distinctiveness of local architecture.”

Last Updated: 13/07/2017
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