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OVG and City Football Group complete first phase of arena consultation

US venue development, advisory and investment company Oak View Group (OVG) and City Football Group (CFG), parent company of Premier League football club Manchester City, are today (Friday) completing the first phase of public consultation on a proposed second major arena for the English city.

This first phase of consultation with local residents and other interested parties has seen initial details behind the plan emerge, such as its proposed location and an early artists’ impression of the 21,000-capacity arena.

The proposed site for the development is on an area of wasteland at Etihad Campus located across the Ashton Canal from City’s Etihad Stadium. The main focus for the first stage of consultation has been on creating jobs for people in East Manchester, and making sure a new arena works for the community.

Arena stakeholders have outlined that the “pioneering” venue would “push the boundaries” of the live entertainment experience in the UK, adding that it has the potential to create over 1,000 direct operational jobs.

Consultation documents read: “We are still at the feasibility stage for the potential new arena at the Etihad Campus. Our ambition is for a large, enclosed venue which makes use of cutting-edge design and technology, as well as first class customer service to provide a truly outstanding event experience for a multitude of events.”

The consultation has also been seeking views on traffic, parking, capacity on public transport, and sustainability. The impact of a second major venue in the local area on transport and parking have been at the centre of residents’ concerns over the project. The documentation added: “We want to make sure that residents don’t experience problems with traffic congestion, parking or capacity on public transport, and that people have a good experience getting to and from a new arena.

“Our starting point is to create a transport and movement strategy that makes sustainable transport choices the quickest, easiest and most pleasant way to access the arena, and actively discourages use of the car.”

Following phase one of the consultation, consideration of the feedback is due to extend through November. Phase two of the consultation, involving more detailed plans, is due to commence in late 2019 with a view towards potentially entering a planning application in early 2020.

In August, OVG confirmed it was working with CFG on the potential development of a new arena on land close to the Etihad Stadium. The announcement followed months of reports concerning the potential development of a venue that would rival Manchester Arena, which is located in the heart of the city centre. Following the opening of its UK office in March, OVG said that it was examining opportunities to bring the world’s best arenas to the world’s greatest cities.

CFG is working with OVG as part of its commitment to continuing the growth of the Eastlands area and the Etihad Campus as a thriving community and world-leading sporting and leisure destination. OVG has stressed that any project in the city would be entirely privately-financed and would not seek any public subsidy. News of a possible second major arena for Manchester first emerged in December and the project has since been faced with multiple questions.

Manchester City Council in July added the proposed new arena as a future possibility under its development masterplan for the area. In June, the Council hit back at a report on the proposed facility which claimed Manchester cannot sustain two large-scale arenas.

The independent study from accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton UK concluded that the second venue would have a “devastating impact” on businesses close to the existing Manchester Arena and could put 2,200 jobs at risk.

The Council said it saw a “range of possible destination uses” for the land at Etihad Campus. Earlier in June, John Sharkey, executive vice-president of European operations at SMG, which runs the 20,000 Manchester Arena, said that the city can’t sustain another arena of this size.

Images: Oak View Group