Plans for UK’s largest arena due in ‘coming weeks’

US-based Oak View Group, the developer behind proposals to bring a 23,500-capacity venue to Eastlands, is eyeing a 2023 opening for its £350m project.

The venue, which is being designed by Populous, would become the largest indoor arena in the UK overtaking Manchester Arena and the proposed 21,500 MSG Sphere in London.

Designed primarily for music concerts, the arena would feature an interior bowl that would offer close proximity between performers and attendees, while maintaining the structural flexibility to host a range of other events.

Improvements to the main walking and cycling routes into the city centre would also form part of the development.

It is understood that Bam Construction is in line to be appointed as lead contractor for the project.

OVG Arena Bowl

The development has proved controversial among some commentators who claim there is not enough demand to support two large arenas in Manchester. However, Oak View said in a statement its arena would “attract new and more diverse events owing to its location, flexible design and ability to utilise the broader Etihad Campus ecosystem”.

Oak View has been undertaking feasibility studies and community consultations since August 2019 with a further consultation event planned for Monday 2 March at the National Cycling Centre.

The developer said it hopes the process will help to “support the growth of East Manchester as a thriving community and world-leading sporting and leisure destination”.

Tim Leiweke, co-founder and chief executive of Oak View Group, said: “We came to Manchester knowing that we needed to develop our proposals in a way that would support the needs and priorities of the entire city.

“Our new venue would place Manchester on the global entertainment map for decades to come.We appreciate the significance of our proposals for the entire city.

“We will present our full analysis of the Manchester opportunity along with our plans and are committed to engaging in dialogue and scrutiny throughout the planning process to ensure a second arena is a win-win for the city.”

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