American Firm Oakview Group (OVG) received planning approval last week for the huge indoor arena and will be joining forces with the Co-op for the project. With a planned capacity of 23.5k, the new arena would be the largest in the UK, surpassing the existing AO Arena (Manchester), which has a capacity of 21k.
The £350m arena will be located on the Etihad campus, continuing the regeneration of the Eastlands area started by the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It is hoped that work on the project could begin in weeks.
The Oak View Group proposal states: “The new arena will deliver a best-in-class artist-fan experience for any arena in Europe, having the flexibility to accommodate multiple event types so Manchester can host a broader range of music, sport and entertainment events, and would be the most sustainable arena in the UK.”
The new arena is set to create 3,350 jobs during construction, and more than 1,000 once open, with the proposal promising to ensure as many jobs as possible go to locals: “[We] will prioritise hiring people who live within walking distance, and have committed that all arena employees will be paid at least the Manchester Living Wage, which is significantly more than the statutory minimum.
“OVG is already in discussions with Manchester City Council and will continue to work with them, as well as key education and work bodies, to define an employment and skills strategy, which will include apprenticeships, specific skills training in partnership with local education partners, local job fairs, and measures to encourage people to get back into work.”
As reported by BusinessLive, the project is hoped to give the regional economy a much-needed boost following the impact of the pandemic – of £1.5bn over the next 20 years.
Around £1m from the stadium will go to good causes across the UK, distributed by the Co-op Foundation, with the arena set to become one of the “most sustainable and socially responsible buildings of its type” in Europe. Once open, the Co-op will offer its members benefits including pre-sale tickets, discounts on food and drink, and competitions. The partnership is set to run for 15 years.