Designs for the UK’s biggest indoor arena, to be built in Manchester – with a capacity of up to 23,500 people – have been revealed.
The venue, to be built on wasteland next to the Etihad Stadium, would also be Europe’s most expensive arena, at a projected cost of £350m.
It would host music, sports and other entertainment events, and its developers, Oak View Group (OVG), hope it could entice organisers to host the Brit awards outside London for the first time.
The company emphasised that safety for visitors would be “central to the design of the venue”. A security strategy has been developed with Greater Manchester police, in light of the terror attack at Manchester Arena in May 2017.
Manchester Arena is the biggest in the UK, with a capacity of 21,000, closely followed by the O2 Arena in London, which can hold 20,000.
Tim Leiweke, the co-founder and chief executive of Oak View Group, said: “Our new venue would attract a wider range of the world’s most exciting events and create thousands of skilled jobs, genuine community opportunities, and significant economic benefits. It would place Manchester on the global entertainment map for decades to come.
“We appreciate the significance of our proposals for the entire city. We will present our full analysis of the Manchester opportunity along with our plans and are committed to engaging in dialogue and scrutiny throughout the planning process to ensure a second arena is a win-win for the city.”
ASM Global, the owner of Manchester Arena, has raised fears that the new venue could push it out of business, according to Manchester Evening News (MEN).
However, OVG confirmed it would be submitting a planning application to the town hall “in the coming weeks”. If successful, the venue would take three years to build and is projected to open in 2023.
Leiweke said: “We came to Manchester knowing that we needed to develop our proposals in a way that would support the needs and priorities of the entire city and deliver a venue that would enable Manchester to thrive in an evolving entertainment market.”
The project would outstrip the planned MSG Sphere London – a vast spherical structure that would hold 21,500 people – in becoming the country’s largest concert arena.
Construction on the site next to the Ashton Canal and bordering Alan Turing Way will create 3,500 jobs, with more than 1,000 people employed at the arena after it is built, according to OVG.
Events at the arena are to be scheduled to avoid clashes with City matches at the Etihad in order to try to avoid issues with traffic and public transport.
However, Leiweke told MEN there could be occasions where arena bosses, the police and the council would need to work together when an event took place at the same time as a football match.