Cardiff Bay is the regeneration area created by the Cardiff Barrage which impounded two rivers (Taff and Ely) to form a new freshwater lake around the former dockland area south of the city centre of Cardiff in south Wales.
The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was created in 1987 to stimulate the redevelopment of the run down area. Since the early 20th century, when the city was the world's largest coal port, Cardiff's docklands had been in decline. By the 1980s they were a mass of empty land and abandoned buildings and had become an embarrassment to the city as it tried to become an international capital. The Development Corporation aimed to attract private capital by spending public money to improve the area. Despite opposition by environmentalists and wildlife organisations, the mud flats at the mouths of the River Taff and River Ely were inundated, with loss of habitat for wading birds.
When the Development Corporation was wound up in March 2000, it had achieved many of its objectives. The whole area was unrecognisable from just ten years before. Much private land was now open to the public. Private capital had come from many sources: insurance company NCM, hotelier Rocco Forte, many housebuilders and retailers. New homes and jobs had been created, the National Assembly for Wales was based in the Bay, the barrage had created a world-class environment. In addition the development had promoted growth in the main city centre. New apartments were built, the Wales Millennium Centre and retail centres.
With the exception of a few historic buildings (the Pierhead building, the Norwegian Church and a warehouse or two), most of the historic quayside areas have been, or will be, lined with new developments including housing, shops, offices, restaurants, a cinema and other leisure facilities, and the new £67 million home for the National Assembly for Wales , designed by Richard Rogers, opened by Her Majesty The Queen on March 1st 2006 (St Davidís Day).