Plans to build a “best in class” 23,500-capacity arena close to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium have taken a step forward after US Developer Oak View Group put in its planning application for the scheme.
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.
According to the design and access statement, “the OVG Manchester Venue is designed to be the best in class concert venue in Europe by creating a bespoke, intimate, flexible and acoustically exceptional auditorium space for the city of Manchester.”
Deloitte is acting as planner and Populous has drawn up the designs.
Populous has worked on a number of large arena and stadium projects including the 62,000 capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the $375m T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas.
The professional team includes BuroHappold as structural and civil engineer, ME Engineers as environmental engineer and MEP consultant, Turner & Townsend as quantity surveyor, Vanguardia on acoustics and Satore Studio as architectural lighting consultant.
It is understood that Bam Construction is lined up as lead contractor.
Tim Leiweke, co-founder and Chief Executive of Oak View Group, said:
“The city has undergone transformational growth in recent years, but without a new state-of-the-art arena it will continue to lose out to other cities on some of the world’s best events.
“We knew that to be a success, our proposals for a new venue needed to work alongside the existing arena, ensure a demonstrable socio-economic uplift for the city, and support the ongoing regeneration efforts underway in East Manchester.
“We are pleased that in-depth studies, with industry trends, economic data and growth forecasts all interrogated, indicate that Manchester could support two successful arenas, even under the most conservative growth projections.”
The submission of the application comes just weeks after ASM Global, operators of Manchester Arena, unveiled designs by HOK which would see the venue’s capacity increase to 24,000, leapfrogging Oak View’s proposals to make it the largest arena of its kind in Europe.
John Sharkey, executive vice-president for European operations for ASM Global, 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.
In response to Oak View Group’s application ASM Global released a statement which said: “We will undertake a detailed review of the application, but at first glance we can see that a number of the reports referenced in the application do not appear to be included within the published planning documents.
“Clearly those reports should be disclosed so the Council and the people of Manchester can properly interrogate the applicant’s assertion that a second arena will benefit the City.”
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