Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

City venue will rock once again

Coal Exchange reopens
A performance by Bridgend band Funeral for a Friend will reopen the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay

A music venue which had been closed two years ago for a major redevelopment is reopening after only minor improvements.

Funeral for a Friend, from nearby Bridgend, will perform at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday.

The £20m redevelopment of the landmark Victorian Grade 2-listed building has fallen victim to the credit crunch.

Management have now decided to reopen the venue, and hope it will herald a revival of Cardiff's live music scene.

"The redevelopment was stopped because of the current economic climate," said Mike Johnson, director of the Coal Exchange Group, the company which has managed the venue for many years.

Rather than leave it dormant indefinitely, he said it was hoped that it could help restore the live music scene in Cardiff and make the area more vibrant.

Coal Exchange's main hall
The building had been a popular music venue for many years

With the closure of the nearby venue The Point earlier this year, live music has dwindled in Cardiff in recent years.

"It will give an obvious boost to the live scene and will be a good profile for the industry," Mr Johnson added.

The £20m revamp has been postponed indefinitely by the owner of the Coal Exchange, Macob.

However, the venue has undergone some minor improvements inside.

Mr Johnson has been involved with the venue since the 1980s, and has been joined by his son and daughter in managing it.

Cosmetic improvements

For most of this year Mr Johnson, his daughter and son have been acting as unofficial guardians for the venue looking after the hall during its minor facelift.

"We love this building," he said.

The next phase for the building is the planned letting of offices on the south west second floor of the building, after planned cosmetic improvements.

Mr Johnson said: "There has been some interest from arts and media organisations about possibly leasing office space in the building."

The landmark building, built between 1883 and 1886, has undergone a number of transformations, from its early days as the hub of wheeler-dealing when Cardiff was the world's leading coal port, to an arts and entertainment hub.

Acts scheduled to perform in the venue over the coming months include the Super Furry Animals, Andy Fairweather Low and John Cale.

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