The left hand end section of roof has collapsed into the terraced building (Photo Owen Price)

What the Marine Buildings terrace looked like before the latest collapse – showing the end building’s roof still almost intact (Photo Owen Price)

A large roof-section of the Grade II listed renaissance-style Marine Buildings at Penarth marina has collapsed into the building .

The Marine Buildings – next door to the Custom House restaurant complex – are recognised as one of the archtectural treaures of Penarth and are awaiting redevelopment as a top flight 5-star hotel.

The roof before this month’s collapse. It was surmounted by the wrought-iron balustrade of a “widow’s walk” – to enable the wives of sailors to look out to sea for the ships of their husbands.

A close up of the collapsed section of roof (Photo John Clark)

The buildings have been empty and abandoned for many years – largely because of the prohibitive  cost of renovating them and bringing them up to modern standards but the project is understood to be still under consideration by the Martinez family who own the Custom House.

The roof section of the “right hand” section of Marine Buildings – nearest the Custom House collapsed some time ago . What’s now collapsed is what was the matching mansard-roof section on the left hand side of the building – nearest the water’s edge.

. It’s not clear exactly when the collapse occurred and whether it was caused by weaknesses in the structure, or by fire. No one from South Wales Fire and Rescue was available for comment today .

Marine Buildings before the latest collapse. Work has yet to start on converting the terrace into a 5-star hotel

What the re-built Marine Buildings would look like when converted into modern 5 star hotel . The existing Custom House restaurant complex – also owned by the Martinez family – is on the right

A proposed re-development – designed by the distinguished Penarth architect Nigel Arnold – would create a 55 bedroom four-star “boutique” hotel – retaining much of the French-influenced design of the original structure, but adding a new frontage with a restaurant overlooking the sea.

However Mr Tanny Martinez, a director of JMD Restaurants which owns Marine Buildings –  and the restaurants in the adjacent Custom House –   has been quoted as saying that banks have been “hesitant” to fund the development because, he says, there is “an overlap in the estimates we have had to develop this site.

In 2015 Wales on Line quoted Mr Martinez as saying that the total cost of development would be  £7,000,000 but the bank “values a completed site in this location at £5,500,000 – so there is a gap which makes funding difficult. We have to find that bridging gap.”

Mr Martinez also says there has been no response with regard to the development from Cardiff Council (the development is on the border between the Vale of Glamorgan and  Cardiff Bay)   and, despite the historic nature of Marine Buildings, he has heard nothing from agencies like Cadw.


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  1. Ricky Rage says:

    SOS we need to save this building NOW for all penarthians for all times. I am writing to the following people to organize a meeting for everyone who loves penarth to come to. Delia Smith, Mat Baker, Hugh Edwards, the Queen, Gareth Bale. The one thing in common is they all love there field of vision. I am clear that we need to SAVE ❤️ PENARTH as more than this we can not do.
    Come with me on a journey to Save old Penarth Buildings. I will set up the SOS meeting to get it done.

    • Anne Greagsby says:

      Penarth Matters – Discuss saving our Penarth Heritage Wed 31st May

    • Sos I love ❤️ Penarth 3rd meeting will take place with the new leader and Vale chief exec and members fr Penarth council, who with me are on it now, with alerts to Bob now in charge of culture. I and the sos team planned to put this on the agenda. Do contact as could really do with some helping hands as things have gathered pace on the people v pacl and Penarth pier ltd directors, 50 trustees and our public money and pavilion fiasco a forensic audit and commission to see where 6 million went and to bring people to account in Penarth once and for all .

    • Local Eye says:

      Brilliant. Very funny. The buildings a gonna though which is a loss but it’s now an eyesore. Flatten it and build a new hotel in the same style for 5 million. That’s progress I’m afraid.

  2. Chris David says:

    What a waste of a potential major asset and beautiful building. How did they manage with the Coal Exchange? Hope the Martinez family can resolve this. CADW may just prove to be a nuisance. Sympathetic restoration yes but common sense and fiscally constraints must apply. Same applies to VoG and CCC planning depts. One might think the relative council(s) might want to support a development.

  3. Having worked on the opening and launch as a Director marketing and sales for St Davids Hotel and Spa, understanding the competitive landscape now, I would suggest a review of the current architectural scheme and cost v revenue projections to ensure maximisation of revenues fr all areas. Rooms, food and beverage, banqueting, spa, other services. This could really deliver increased GOP to the bottom line and then the finance needed may make senses re ROI for an investor or bank from here or internationally based Its worked for other properties existing but spending to get a new market mix and yield per customer. It will work probably here to

    • Peter Church says:

      You should e-mail them directly then!!!

      Forget about posting on here you are too talented for that.
      In fact spend all your time e-mailing and don’t waste any on here, what ever the current cause. The Pier, RNLI, Cafe on the front, Toilets by the park or what ever.

      PS don’t for get to cc in the Queen, the PM and his excellency Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ruler of Dubai.

    • Frederick says:

      Investing the turnover we need to accommodate concerns, build in accountability with ambush marketing to get it at an aggressive quote in point of fact use of the product provides anecdotal information to us until we can put a Band Aid on the problem in case we do not have the bandwidth to accommodate their requests. Can we bounce some ideas around, incrementally spoon feed small amounts of information re: the company’s overall costs and revenues, we need a buy-in to proceed a compelling case to add value drill down into the issue expense management get a handle on being given a mandate, with more granularity within the delivery system to insource internal efficiencies and leverage our new knowledge into a major player for the long haul vis a vis matrix management. Placement services on target resulting in a paradigm shift, partnering and positioning the product. Be proactive in ramping down the operation. A rising tide raises all boats and restructuring of cost savings, shelving in the short term after sitting down across a table Blue sky thinking to see measured growth in the market share, tight supply and demand in a strong market before suspending operations and switching gear. Task force, synergy to grow our top line, trimming costs. We need to work to make it happen. I bl**dy loves Penarth.

  4. Fishhenge says:

    The Vale will want 40% of the hotel as social bed and breakfast.

  5. AK says:

    They don’t look ‘treasured’ any more, not have they for 30 years or more !
    They are an eyesore on the gateway to Penarth arriving by sea or across the barrage.

  6. snoggerdog says:

    in 1960,i worked for moonfleet marine & there was a very busy shop in the middle ground floor of this building,now its all gone,the floating football pitch is a dutch pontoon brought over on a dutch ship unloaded off dutch lorries by dutch workers,we may be leaving the E.E. but they will still gladly accept our gbp.

  7. Big Davey says:

    Surely Martinez family will just stand by and let this beautiful property crumble a la Bolan tactics so oft used in Penarth. Once the roof goes the rest will follow in a few years and then it is prime development site with no need to restore a thing.

    The Vale is ‘Pro’ developer so a new glass and render clad tower block will be raised. it will be pitched as the tallest building in Wales with views over sea and bay.

    • Penarth says:

      This is a faceded building. Nice brickwork front which hides the cheap and nasty row of houses behind. Keep the front and do a rebuild.

  8. Jon says:

    I saw it happen. It was on 12 May

  9. Clive Jones says:

    I remember when they were still being lived in and there used to be a shop at the end next to the gap between the buildings.

  10. Old Docks Boy. says:

    snoggerdog So you worked for Moonfleet and yes I remember the shop, but what has the floating football pitch got to do with the collapsed roof. Behave yourself snoggerdog If I didn’t know you better I would say this is Double Dutch are you trying to compete with Nicki !!!

  11. The Tax payer says:

    I remember the roof on the right hand side was damaged about 30years ago as a result of a fire and was cut back/removed to make it safe

  12. AK says:

    I see the Cory Building and Merchants’ House in Cardiff Bay has redevelopment plans. One of the finest looking buildings in the Bay next to the Coal Exchange I think.

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