OVG Eastlands Arena internal
Work will start next month on the £350m arena

Development terms agreed for Co-op Live

Neil Tague

Venue operator Oak View Group has completed its planning agreement with Manchester City Council, allowing a start on site for the £350m arena at the Etihad campus.

OVG said that the 23,500- capacity arena project will now move quickly to the construction phase – early site preparation works will begin next month, with the project “fully engaged” in January 2021. Planning consent was secured in September.

Terms of the deal include:

  • A donation of £100,000 per year to local organisations once the venue is operational. This is in addition to the £1m per year to be generated by the arena for distribution via the Co-operative Foundation to community groups locally and nationally as a result of the OVG/Co-op partnership.
  • Prioritising local labour during the construction and operational phases of the development
  • Working with the council and local community to develop and fund the expansion of the Residential Parking Zone around the site
  • Working with the local community to provide opportunities to use the venue for agreed community activities
  • Delivering a number of improvements to walking and cycling routes to the Campus, including along the Ashton Canal towpath.

With Government confirming that it will not call Manchester’s approval in, OVG can start on site with what is slated as a three-year construction project.

The business has also announced that Co-op Live is to be accredited as an official Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation, through both construction and operational phases.

Mark Donnelly, chief operating officer of OVG, said: “We are delighted that following September’s planning committee we have been able to conclude our agreement with the council so quickly.

“Our legal commitments codify our vision of being a key part of the local community and that will include donations to local good causes, making the venue available for community events, and prioritising local hiring.

We have also listened carefully to local residents during the planning process and know that expanding the Residents Parking Zone is a very important issue for those who live locally.”

Shortly after planning was secured for the arena, it was announced that a 15-year naming rights deal had been agreed with the Co-op for £100m, while earlier this week, OVG revealed that musician Harry Styles is to be a minority equity investor in the arena

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