Manchester Arena Redevelopment Bird's Eye View
The plans centre on reworking the Hunts Bank entrance

Manchester Arena pushes ahead with revamp

Dan Whelan

Operator ASM Global has launched a consultation for the first of a two-phase redevelopment of the venue – which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – and intends to submit a planning application at the end of this month.

External work to the arena, which has been closed since March due to Covid-19, will see the redevelopment of the Hunts Bank entrance to create a sloping ramp taking concert-goers from street level up to the arena entrance, opposite Cheetham’s School of Music. 

Commercial units beneath the ramp will provide a permanent home for music charity Nordoff Robbins. 

Other work includes improving access from Trinity Way by creating another entrance. This, in turn, will allow the arena to more than double its standing capacity from 3,000 to 7,000, under the plans. 

Speaking to Place North West, ASM Global’s business development director Tom Lynch said the reramp would improve the sense of arrival to the arena. Talks with Cheetham’s, Network Rail and conservation body Historic England over the plans have been positive, he added. 

Manchester Arena Redevelopment Entrance

The Hunts Bank ramp would improve the arena’s sense of arrival

The second phase of the project – to improve the arena internally – would cost in the region of £40m to £70m and is still being drawn up. It would not require a planning application, according to Lynch. 

Provisional plans for the interior , unveiled in March, include the creation of an additional concourse level to improve visitor circulation, and a dedicated level for VIP boxes and lounges, as well as new food and drink outlets on the event floor. 

Avison Young is the planning consultant for the scheme and HOK is the architect. 

Lynch added: “We’ve been humbled by the overwhelming support from our neighbours and the people of Manchester so far.  

“We invite as many people as possible to review our plans and give us their feedback and ideas. We’re excited about protecting and enhancing the future of the arena at the heart of the city centre, as we celebrate 25 years as one of the most successful venues in the world.” 

US-based arena developer Oak View Group, which says that Manchester Arena is outdated, wants to build a rival venue in Eastlands and submitted plans in April that are expected to go before Manchester City Council’s planning committee in September. 

OVG claims that Manchester can support two large arenas, but ASM Global contests this claim. 

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I am happy this is happening but what a shame its taken another company to propose another arena for them to invest. Eastlands needs to be built and this upgrade needs to happen and they can scrap it out for events. The comp will be good for the region in the long run.

By Bob

Long overdue.

By 0161

Lipstick on a pig.

By EggManc

Agree with the above comments, this is long over due and has been promoted only by the new venue being announced. This whole thing looks rushed, cheap and tacky. The main problem I think the arena has is the small size of the concourse before you get to the seats and I do not think that can be remedied by a glowing ramp up to the front door.

By Bradford

Make the food and drink prices reasonable, everybody hates exploitation. Its not fair.

By Glenn Bradley

I wasn’t sure about the Eastlands Arena when they announced it . Two 23k seater Arena’s in the city seemed excessive. But now, we’ll they are businesses, If they think they can make money and help fill the hotels bars and restaurants by providing even more investment then that can only be a good thing. God knows that sector is going to need all the help it can get in the coming years.

By Nve

Mmmm sexy bacon

By Anonymous

Looks like a 90s video game CGI. The bright colours overlook the fact that it’s a poorly clad box, which will probably be re-clad again. Can’t wait to see how the flashy lights will be VE-d.

By VE

Without the splendour of a waterside location, say for example like the M&S Arena in Liverpool, I think it`s the equivalent of putting a nice dress on a plain girl.

By Liverpool romance

Yes let’s have some hexagons in the decor. I mean, it’s not like that symbol’s been overused or anything.

By Luke North

As a Previous Worker of the MEN ARENA I Totally Agree that it Needs a Revamp.

By Elaine Starling

Biggest price ripoff for poor quality acoustics.

By Alan

Good that the arena is getting more investment..it’s going to need it if another even bigger one is being built in the city. Competition is good, if that’s what it took for the owners to open their cheque books then bring it on!

By M1

@Luke North…if the hexagon symbol (related to the Manchester Bee symbol) is going to be used anywhere, then surely this is it don’t you think?

By Steve