Bristol Arena, a 14-year-long project in the making, could be moved to a proposed site within the Brabazon hangar next to Filton Airfield.
The £123.5m ($161.6m/€139.3m) project, which is still to break ground, has already invested £9m on the current proposed site near Temple Meads.
The new site, a 352m-long building, is becoming a strong favourite after long being named as an alternative to the Temple Mead location.
Bristol’s plan to develop a 12,000-seat arena has been marred by 14 years of delays and new designs.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has officially revealed the current arena design would cost “significantly” more than the authority’s £123.5m budget if it were to be built in the city centre.
Rees has offered assurances that he is “100 per cent committed to delivering an arena for Bristol,” though he has announced an extension to an ongoing “value for money” review to look at new sites, new designs and the potential for private investment.
The Bristol Post newspaper reports that it the new site would not much change the design of the building, and would be the preferred option than trying a different design on the existing “difficult” site.
The airfield’s Malaysian owners, YTL director Colin Skellett, said: “I think it is really important that we try to get an arena for Bristol, I think it is a key strategic asset.
“If the city wants to explore alternative options, yes we’ve got three large hangars that potentially could be part of the review. We certainly would be happy to work with the city on looking at alternatives if that is what they want to do.”
The Brabazon hangar was built in the late 1940s to manufacture the Bristol Brabazon aircraft and is made up of three bays supported by an enormous steel frame.
The Filton location has potential to be named as a new ‘entertainment zone’ in the city, due to its proximity to The Mall, the new aerospace museum and planned ice rink.
In addition, the site provides plenty of space for car parking, which would solve the argument over a lack of room at the Temple Meads site. Car parking charges are one of the most lucrative revenue streams for similar-sized arenas across the country.
Rees said: “I remain 100 per cent committed to delivering an arena for Bristol and with this in mind it is right to look at every available option, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each.
“What we’re seeing with the cost is a challenge and we need to deal with it. I’ve asked our consultants KPMG to consider every avenue. This includes raising private investment, thinking about other sites and considering designs which could be delivered within budget. Nothing is off the table because one way or another this city is going to get an arena it can afford.
“A lot of work continues to go into the project and this pause shouldn’t be mistaken for a backwards step. This is about doing the sensible thing in looking at all of the possibilities and being open minded about where the advice received takes us.”