The iconic Coal Exchange building in Cardiff Bay has witnessed a new chapter as Eden Grove Developments Limited regains control from leaseholder Cardiff Exchange Hotel LLP. The Grade II listed hotel, in operation since 2017, has grappled with numerous challenges, including maintenance issues, safety concerns, and financial discrepancies.
Despite its commendable TripAdvisor ranking, the Coal Exchange Hotel’s recent history has been marred by uncertainty. The ongoing ownership dispute and a peculiar operating schedule have raised questions about the future of this historic establishment, capturing the attention of locals and patrons alike.
With a history deeply embedded in Cardiff’s coal shipping trade, the Coal Exchange evolved into a music venue and offices until safety concerns forced its closure in 2013. Signature Living, a Liverpool-based hospitality company, took over the property in 2016, envisioning its transformation into a hotel. However, financial troubles during the pandemic led to Signature Living’s administration, casting doubts on the fate of the historic structure.
Post-administration, management of the property shifted to Eden Grove Developments, headed by a former Cardiff Labour councillor. However, a lease was granted to Cardiff Exchange Hotel LLP, a company associated with a businessman. The same entity secured the contract to operate the hotel, adding a layer of complexity to the building’s ownership structure.
In February 2023, the building faced a setback when a burst water pipe prompted its closure. Extensive damage led to the demolition of part of the structure, with Cardiff Council issuing orders for structural stability. Subsequent road closures were implemented due to the risk of falling debris.
Aerial photographs a month later depicted the severe damage, showcasing missing floors and a nearly hollowed-out section. Plans to rebuild the demolished segment are in motion, but uncertainty surrounds whether the restoration will faithfully replicate the original structure.
The latest development unfolded on December 27, as Eden Grove Developments Limited reclaimed possession from Cardiff Exchange Hotel LLP. Despite the ownership dispute, the hotel’s operator maintains that business continues as usual, acknowledging the contestation of ownership by both the freeholder and the former leaseholder.
A spokesperson for Coal Exchange Cardiff Freehold LLP Company clarified that the hotel traditionally closes midweek in January for essential maintenance on spa baths and bedrooms. They assured customers that pre-booked accommodations, weddings, and events will proceed as planned, underscoring their commitment to addressing disruptions with legal guidance.
Eden Grove Developments Limited, in a statement, confirmed the repossession and outlined plans for a comprehensive review of the site’s compliance with health and safety regulations. The company aims to minimize disruption while initiating any necessary corrective actions.
Later this month, Eden Grove Developments Limited intends to disclose the names of development partners enlisted to commence work on the north side of the site. This revelation may provide insights into the company’s broader vision for the future of the Coal Exchange building.
As Cardiff awaits the resolution of the ownership dispute and observes the unfolding developments, the fate of the historic Coal Exchange Hotel remains uncertain. The building’s rich history and recent challenges only add to the intrigue surrounding its future in the heart of Cardiff Bay.