OVG Eastlands Arena aerial
The venue is to be located in Eastlands close to the Etihad Stadium

Eastlands beat Trafford and Stockport to Manchester second arena

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Bam has been confirmed as the contractor for the £350m arena planned for near the Etihad Stadium, while documents reveal the other sites which were under consideration for the 23,500-capacity venue, including Pomona Island and Stockport town centre.

US developer Oak View Group submitted its planning application for the “best in class” arena, due to be built on a site close to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, within Eastlands, earlier this week. 

The arena will occupy a 5.5-acre site bound to the north by Sportcity Way, the west by Joe Mercer Way, the east by Alan Turing Way and the south by the Ashton Canal. 

Bam Construction had been tipped to win a £150m contract to build the stadium, and the company’s appointment was confirmed by OVG yesterday.

The choice of the Eastlands location has been controversial, and as part of the application, planner Deloitte has submitted a document which justifies why the site was chosen.

As arenas are classed as a “main town centre use”, according to Deloitte “only if suitable city centre sites aren’t available should an out of centre location be considered”.

OVG’s criteria included size of site, transport connectivity, profile, and uses already present in the surrounding area.

A longlist included 73 sites across Greater Manchester, including in the city centre and within towns such as Wigan and Bolton.

The final shortlist narrowed to three sites judged as central to a city or town, which were Piccadilly Trading Estate near to Piccadilly train station, Pomona Island and Stockport town centre, as well as nine out of centre, which included the Etihad site and alternatives such as the Old Trafford car park and Trafford Centre car park.

Despite its connectivity advantages and prominence, Piccadilly was discounted due to the surrounding industrial uses, and the fact that timescales for the redevelopment of the area would likely be impacted by the delivery of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Pomona Island was discounted due to its “irregular shape” and likelihood of leading to visitor congestion, as well as “highly complex construction” needed due to its location between two waterways.

Stockport town centre was rejected as the project would need “significant land assembly, demolition and improvements to pedestrian access”, and was judged as not a high profile enough location.

Meanwhile, “the analysis concludes that the Etihad Campus is suitable, available and viable for the proposed arena development and is clearly the best connected of the shortlisted sites to the centre.”

John Sharkey of ASM Global, operator of the Manchester Arena, has been critical of the idea of a second arena in the city, suggesting that the market could not support two 20,000-plus venues, an opinion which is refuted by Oak View Group’s chief operating officer, Mark Donnelly. Other city centre businesses, such as Printworks and Corn Exchange, have joined Sharkey in arguing an out-of-centre location risks drawing footfall away from their restaurants and bars.

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I think it’s a superb idea need to bring a bit of activity to DROYLSDEN hopefully help to improve the quality of the area x

By Joan Thornton

“… not a high profile enough location.”

By Stockport

Another White Elephant. Who wants to go out any more, anyway?

By Dumbo

Stockport was surely never a serious contender?

By Anonymous

I think Pomona sounds interesting

By Anonymous

Picadilly would have made a lot of sense being next to the station.

By Luke

Amazing choice, metro link, parking all there already & 0nly 1.2 miles from city center. Great move!

By Randell

Ok Dumbo, I’ll bite… what are the previous white elephants? And surely everyone wants to go out, I know I do. Not convinced we need another arena but they seem to be curious objections

By Anon again

All theoretical artificial planning non of these other locations were involved!!!


Presuming this gets planning I wonder what follows around Eastlands? The area around Wembley stadium has totally transformed these last few years with hotels, restaurants and apartments. I know that Eastlands is a different context but food and drinking would surely be a natural follow? I guess that’s where the town centre planning uses really start to bite. But I’m always of the view that investment like this is always a positive.