Summer start for £50m revamp of Manchester’s AO Arena
ASM Global, the operator of the 27-year-old city-centre venue, is pushing ahead with redevelopment plans in response to the creation of a rival £300m arena in Eastlands.
The £50m project will “dramatically enhance” the venue and boost its capacity from 21,000 to 24,000, ensuring it remains the largest arena in the city.
Oak View Group’s Co-op Live Arena, which ASM Global vehemently opposed, will be able to hold 23,500 people once complete.
As well as increasing the AO Arena’s capacity, ASM plans to redevelop the venue’s entrances and deliver “new premium seating”.
The arena’s back of house areas will also be improved. A redeveloped backstage experience for artists, production and crew will be delivered, as well as new artist dressing rooms and production areas.
ASM will unveil more detail on the proposals in the coming months and aims to start work to upgrade the arena this summer.
Chris Bray, executive vice-president of Europe at ASM Global, said: “As we approach our 30th anniversary, this ambitious endeavour will not only reinforce [the arena’s] position as a leading destination for live entertainment but will extend its market leadership for live and fan experiences for the next 30 years.”
ASM first announced its intention to redevelop the arena in 2020, with US architect HOK leading on design.
The project was split across two phases with external improvements being delivered first and the internal overhaul coming later.
A planning application for phase one of the project, which included improving the Trinity Way entrance and a major redesign of the Hunts Bank entrance, was lodged in 2020.
However, the Hunts Bank element was later omitted from the phase one plan.
It is understood this part of the project will be subject to a revised planning application at a later date.