OVG Eastlands Arena
A plethora of firms have voiced concern over the plans for a second Manchester arena

Sign-off nears for £350m Eastlands arena

Dan Whelan

Plans for a 23,500-capacity arena from US-based stadium developer Oak View Group are due to be approved by Manchester City Council next week despite conflict over the level of demand for a second arena in the city. 

OVG’s arena, designed by architect Populous, would occupy a 5.5-acre site close to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium off Alan Turing Way, next to the Ashton Canal.  

A report by city council planning officers said: “The proposal aspires to bring the best arena in Europe to Manchester, attracting the world’s top events within a building that sets new standards in terms of design and environmental sustainability. 

“This [project] represents a £350m investment into the city and East Manchester.” 

ASM Global, the firm that operates the recently rebranded AO Arena in the city centre, has repeatedly voiced concerns about the rival project from the outset, and says that OVG’s claims that Manchester can support two large arenas are based on flawed and contradictory market research. 

However, Manchester planning officers said that the market analysis, carried out by consultancies Ekosgen and PWC, was “significant” and “underpins the case for a second area”. 

OVG Eastlands Arena aerial

The venue would be located in Eastlands close to the Etihad Stadium

Based on the findings of the research, OVG claims there is market potential for an additional 2.5 million annual arena visits in Manchester by 2035. 

The plans have received more than 500 objections, including from asset manager DTZ Investors and restaurant group Living Ventures, which both claim an out-of-town arena would impact negatively on the city centre.  

Mark Donnelly, chief operating officer of OVG, said: “We’re pleased that our proposals for a new world-class arena in Manchester will be considered by the council’s planning committee next week. We welcome the planning officer’s recommendation for approval and look forward to presenting the plans to the committee.” 

ASM Global was contacted for comment. 

In March, ASM Global unveiled plans for a two-phase upgrade of its city centre venue to increase its capacity to 24,000. Plans for the first phase, the redesign of the Hunts Bank entrance, were lodged earlier this month. 

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Get it built, will be fantastic for the area, jobs and investment on what is waste land currently.

By Bob

Great news for the North West that we will have the best European Arena on the region.

By Floyd

Far more accessible than the MEN, traffic is awful around there, it’s better to spread things out

By Lee

This will look fantastic provided that once it’s built, it’s always night.

By Huey

@Lee…That is exactly the problem with this development. It will encourage more car use as it is further away from public transport options. Encouraging increased car use isn’t the answer to anything at the current time.

By Harpsicord

What time to most concerts take place? In the evening and at night.

By Brian

Great news

By Monty

Well, while public transport options are indeed limited there, there are always opportunities to improve this. I certainly hope so

By EOD

Continued investment, just the thing the city will need going forward ,and if it forces the MEN (or now the AO ) arena owners to continue with their much needed plans to revamp then more power to them.

By Anonymous

Suitably bleak looking CGI

By Glam

Car use is better, public transport isn’t for most people.

By Lee

@Lee is that a deliberate wind up or do you really mean that? Childhood asthma isn’t for most people but I guess they can drive off back to the suburbs and leave their air pollution with the people of East Manchester

By Anonymous

It is a shame the design could not be better. Cars will be able to access this one easier however. Trams are a joke for busy times. If they reopen the rail line next door to passengers, that would help those on or near transport links but most people aren’t and Manchester’s rail network needs serious investment.

By Richard

Air quality doesn’t seem to be a problem for the council in the city centre where congestion is worse than ever due to to unwanted/needed road closures. The new arean will have 2 Metrolonk stations already in situ and we won’t see the same gridlock we see at the existing arena.

By Neil