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

GALLERY | Plans in for £350m Eastlands arena

Dan Whelan

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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looks fantastic.Get it built.

By jack

”We just can’t for the life of us work out why all the city centre restaurants are going bust”

By Why not just refurb the Arena?

Bad news for MEN Arena, the Corn Exchange, the Printworks and city centre hotels, bars and restaurants and East Manchester residents. Good news for Oak View Group.

By Dan

Inspiration seemingly derived from a giant Playstation 2!

By N/A

I mean I’m all for an extreme renovation of the MEN but it says Manchester can support both venues. Not sure where they got their data from.

If that’s the case then the Corn Exchange, Printworks etc shouldn’t worry too much. And it will also help with the regeneration of Eastlands which is needed.

I do wonder whether it would be better located on the Trafford Centre site now that’s going to the dogs.

By Anonymous

Who on earth would want to go and see a band with 23,500 other people?

By ChesneyT

Approve it! Manchester Arena has been decaying slowly for 2 decades and the owners haven’t bothered refurbing it, and only now this new arena is proposed all of a sudden they have plans to renew it. Too little too late. I’d much rather avoid the city centre with it’s pathetic road system and extortionate parking prices in favour of a purpose built venue with class facilities, even if it is next to the Emptihad.

By Anon

looks terrible, square like everything else in Manchester

By Anonymous

Another nail in the coffin for the city centre. It will be on its knees anyway after the COVID-19 impact, this will just make all the bars, restaurants and hotels suffer more that rely on city centre trade form the Manchester Arena.

By Dan

Great news for the whole of Manchester, get it built

By Bob

What a time to submit a huge application like this when we need to be protecting our centres….

By Junior

Bad news for city centre …………tho perhaps long term aim of MCC is to get rid of privately owned existing Arena, keep single one on MCC owned land and see area around Victoria re-developed?

By Bo

Utter nonsense that this will decimate the city center. People don’t got out in Ardwick before and after a show at the Apollo, they get a cab to and from town. There is a tram link, it’s about 5 minutes from the city center by cab, you could even walk to it from town at a push. Don’t see what the problem is.

By Loganberry

Manchester Arena get them plans to upgrade and refurb done asap. Eastlands is a nightmare during football and you will have to walk/bus/tram or taxi into Manchester after your concert to make a full night of it.

By Ken

All for Manchester raising it’s game as the destination for live music outside London. I hope the council hold the developers to account during the planning process and improve links including the CityLink, Metrolink services and Ashton Canal.

I’d hope once COVID-19 is solved we’ll see hotels and restaurants/bars opening at the Etihad Campus too.

By Connectivity

However many arenas Manchester can support this is clearly something that should be on a city centre or edge-of-centre site, if sustainability and supporting vibrant centres means anything to MCC.

By urbanista

Nail in the coffin for Manchester City Centre?
Its the best it’s ever been.
Shows how little the people in the comments section know…
Design looks amazing, although I would prefer it to be in the City Centre.

By Anonymous

Fantastic. Can’t wait for a modern arena in Manchester!

By Mike

We need things around the stadium more sustainable, offices, hotel, shopping mall, restaurants and bars that can be used 24/7 365 not something that will be used infrequently.

By Anonymous

No no no this will take away from manchester arena

By Charles branson