NEC Group involved in new Edinburgh arena project

NEC Group is to lead the development of a proposed new 8,000-capacity indoor arena in Edinburgh.

The venue, to be built on a 30-acre site close to the city centre, will include conference, retail and leisure space, a cinema and two hotels.

The arena project will see NEC Group team up with Lothian Leisure Development (LLD), a UK based entertainment, leisure and sports venue consultancy.

NEC Group is supporting LLD to progress the scheme proposals to full feasibility stage, taking on full management of the arena including event programming, hospitality, commercial rights, catering and ticketing once planning permissions are in place.

LLD said it is currently in discussion with several parties to secure funding for the development phase of the project. The next key milestone for the project is expected to be a planning application by the end of 2020.

Phil Mead, Arenas and Ticket Factory chairman at NEC Group, said the company is enthused by involvement in another project away from its main base of Birmingham.

“We host over 700 events per year in the Birmingham area and have always planned to take our successful events model to new cities with the backing of our majority shareholder, Blackstone,” said Mead.

“We are already looking forward to opening the redeveloped Bradford Live venue in 2021 and are delighted to now confirm our partnership with LLD which will hopefully see us manage our first venue in Scotland.

“Edinburgh is well known for its wonderful cultural offering but remains one of the only European capital cities without an indoor arena and so we’re excited by the thought of being able to bring some big names in entertainment to the region.”

The developers said the venue will be a much-needed addition to Scotland’s capital, complementing Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment offering and providing a significant tourism and jobs boost for the region.

Dave Fowler, business development director at LLD, said: “These exciting proposals showcase the modern, indoor arena that Edinburgh deserves, and with operating partner NEC on board the capital is assured a pipeline of the world’s greatest entertainment talent.

“We also look forward to applying many of the other aspects of the hugely successful NEC Campus to Edinburgh in due course. We see this as a revolution in entertainment provision for one of the world’s most cultural capitals – and one which will benefit all sections of the community.”