A HOTEL, indoor arena, indoor ski slope and water park are planned as part of a £65m project to turn the run-down Oasis Leisure Centre into a regional leisure destination.
Moirai Capital Investments a property developer specialising in leisure and entertainments, has been identified by Swindon Council as the preferred developer to refurbish the old centre and later provide other leisure facilities at the site.
Projections show the development could attract up to four million visitors a year from across the UK and create up to 1,700 jobs.
And to enhance the project, the council is also considering building a £4m pedestrian bridge that would link the Oasis to the town centre over the railway line.
Swindon Council’s Cabinet will be asked on Wednesday, February 15 to approve the project, which could start as soon as the summer and finish by the end of 2014.
Coun Keith Williams, the cabinet member for leisure and corporate services, said: “This proposal has the potential to be one of the most exciting developments Swindon has seen for many years.
“This is a great opportunity to breathe new life into our leisure offer and bring significant benefits to the local economy.”
Moirai was identified as the preferred private developer for the leisure scheme following a bid process which was evaluated by council officers, councillors, ward members and Cabinet members.
The Moirai team is led by Martin Barber, who was the founder and developer of the X-scape brand, which was behind the Milton Keynes, Castleford and Braehead indoor ski slopes and has also developed a further 20 leisure parks.
The project would be carried out in three phases lasting about a year each. The Oasis, including its iconic dome roof, would be refurbished in the first year, with the other facilities built later on the adjoining former Clares factory site.
Moirai has indicated it has firm interest from potential operators/occupiers for 60 per cent of the site and is working with existing centre users to accommodate them in the plans.
If councillors approve the plan, the council would enter into a collaboration agreement and grant four long-term leases covering the Oasis and the former Clares site.
If the key targets are not met in delivering the new facilities, the council can take back the leases.
But, if all goes to plan, the Oasis building will eventually be handed over to the developer, with the freehold on the Clares site staying in council ownership.
The council will also receive income from granting the leases. All the cash investment in the scheme, which will also include leisure and sports-related retail facilities, will come from Moirai.
A total of 400 full-time and 600 part-time positions are expected to be created, with the rest in construction and ongoing supported activity associated with the development.
The council plans to transfer across the 65 posts currently at the Oasis.
Martin Barber, who is leading the Moirai development team, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for Swindon to achieve a truly exciting range of leisure and entertainment opportunities.
“We shall create a development of which the town can justifiably be proud. It will establish Swindon as a major player in leisure, and will attract significant numbers of visitors to the town.”