|Date||12 August 2011|
|Location||Parc Menai, Bangor||SH 54078 69771; 53.204908°N 4.186252°W|
Built in 2004 at a cost of £17.8m* by the former Welsh Development Agency (WDA) as part of its Technium programme, Ty Menai is a 6,500 sq m (70,000 sq ft) centre in Bangor’s Parc Menai business park. Opening in August 2005 as Technium CAST (although not officially opened until May 2006), its function was to house Bangor University’s Centre for Advanced Software Technology (CAST) — a subsidiary established in 2006 — and also to provide a business incubation environment. The original business plan was for the facility to become self-sustaining and to create 300 jobs within five years.
The Technium programme started in 2001 with the opening of a £2m purpose-built facility in a partnership between Swansea University and the WDA. In 2003 the WDA announced a £150m expansion of its programme, leading to a network of 10 Technium buildings across Wales. The underlying concept of the scheme was to create clusters of sector-specific fledgling science and technology start-ups, providing them with office accommodation and business support. There were, however, criticisms at the time that rather than targeting investment to increase levels of research and development in the private and public sectors, it was instead being used to construct new buildings. The programme, whose objective was to nurture indigenous innovation, was in contrast to the strategy that the WDA had previously pursued, namely one of inward investment. The latter, aiming to attract foreign companies to the region, had been a fashionable idea in the 1980s, but ultimately left many unemployed as incoming migratory companies later moved away.
In November 2010 the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) announced that it was to discontinue six Techniums from its network of 10. The move came following criticisms of their performance. Technium CAST was one of the six. Although no longer part of the Technium network, the facility has, however, been retained by WAG and has been re-branded as Ty Menai (Menai House). It still remains home to Bangor University’s CAST and continues to lease office space to its tenant companies.
*The construction costs have also been stated variously in answers to written questions in the Welsh Assembly as £15.65m and £10.7m.