Cardiff proceeds with new arena project

Cardiff city council has granted permission for detailed design works to commence on a new 15,000-capacity indoor arena, with events promoter and venue operator Live Nation already said to be interested in the project.

The council’s cabinet backed the project yesterday (Thursday). Once completed, the scheme will be brought back to cabinet for a decision in March, with a planning application for the development lined up for submission by July.

The Welsh capital is seeking to develop a venue that would complement the existing 7,000-seat Motorpoint Arena (pictured) and the 74,000-seat Principality Stadium. A report to cabinet revealed that the existing Red Dragon Centre, home of a casino, restaurants and a cinema, could be demolished to make way for the new indoor arena. Before that, a new Red Dragon Centre and retail site would be built alongside the arena to further enhance the leisure offer.

Speaking ahead of yesterday’s deliberations, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, Cllr Russell Goodway, said: “We want to re-energise Cardiff Bay boosting its profile as a leisure-based destination. This new development can help to reinvigorate the area, delivering new attractions for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Following yesterday’s approval, the council will begin working in partnership with the owner of the Red Dragon Centre – British Airways Pension Fund – and their delivery partner Reef Group to transform the site into a state-of-the-art leisure and retail destination, preparing the way for the arena to be built.

Goodway added: “There has been significant interest in this project from a variety of arena operators in the UK. It’s clear there’s a market. Live Nation, the current operator of the Motorpoint Arena and one of the world’s leading event promoters has also approached the council and it has confirmed in writing they would cease to operate the existing Motorpoint Arena if they were successful in securing the operator lease for the new facility.

“The additional footfall that the arena and new leisure and retail site will generate will also increase the demand for better transport links between the city centre and the bay. This should only help to drive the need for the new metro system and putting an arena in the Bay could also help speed up the completion of the Eastern Bay Link Road.”

Image: Seth Whales