Facility management and venue services company ASM Global (ASM) has been appointed as venue management provider for the new £260m (€294.2m/$324m) arena, conference and exhibition centre being developed on Gateshead Quays in the North East of England.

The company has signed a long-term agreement with Ask:PATRIZIA, a joint venture between developer, Ask Real Estate, and investment development manager, PATRIZIA, instructed by Gateshead Council.

The 12,500-capacity arena will be capable of holding major music and cultural events as well as hosting international conferences and exhibitions. Designed to bring new audiences to the region, it is hoped it will also attract major political events and international delegates. It is estimated that the development will see up to 300,000 new visitors drawn into the region each year boosting the economy by up to £30m annually.

John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate, said: “They (ASM) have a global reputation for excellence and their experience will be key in helping us to develop what will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations. We have been working closely with them to ensure the arena will be able to accommodate the rapid advances in sound and production technology.”

The latest news comes after venue management group SMG Europe was first announced as the operator for the arena complex in June. ASM Global was formed earlier this month following the completion of a merger between Onex-owned SMG and AEG Facilities, the venue management subsidiary of sports and entertainment giant AEG.

Commenting on the confirmation of the Gateshead Quays complex lease agreement, John Sharkey, executive vice-president of Europe for ASM Global, said: “We’re delighted to have contracted with Gateshead Council and Ask:PATRIZIA, to bring to market such an ambitious development and move our established business to such an iconic, central location.

“The North East has always been an important region for ASM Global. We look forward to building upon the success of the Utilita Arena and Whitley Bay Playhouse, and leveraging our regional strength to further develop the events landscape and grow the North East economy.

“Our events calendar continues to be incredibly strong in Newcastle and we’ve recently welcomed fantastic new partnerships with Utilita, LNER and Metro Radio, among others. This ongoing commitment and investment, along with the vision and ambition from Gateshead Council and Ask:PATRIZIA, demonstrates a very clear bellwether for the regional economy, and the attractiveness of the events sector in Newcastle Gateshead.

“We look forward to working with a range of national and regional partners, and leveraging our global partnerships with leading entertainment, product, sports and service providers to cement Gateshead Quay’s reputation as a world-class leisure and cultural destination.”

Confirmation of ASM Global’s appointment as the complex operator will be followed by the development of a detailed design agreement for the entire 10-acre complex followed by a full planning submission in early 2020. It is anticipated that the arena will open by 2023.

HOK has been appointed to design the new arena and conference and exhibition centre. It is currently working on detailed designs for the venue on the banks of the River Tyne. John Rhodes, HOK’s design principal and head of sports and entertainment, said: “This is a fantastic site overlooking the River Tyne, sitting directly in front of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

“The masterplan has the unique benefit of combining the new arena, conference and exhibition centre and hotel with the wonderful existing buildings of Sage Gateshead and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. This combination will create a world class destination and regeneration legacy, attracting many thousands of visitors annually.”

The wider scheme, which will be delivered as part of the overall masterplan, will include 6,300 square metres of conference and exhibition space together with an additional 2,800 square metres of flexible meeting space, hotels, bars, restaurants, car parking and extensive areas of public realm.

ASM Global last week made its first major business move since its formation by acquiring a 25% stake in Sydney-based stadium operator VenuesLive.

Image: HOK