BAM reported to have won Manchester arena construction contract

BAM is reported to have won the contract to construct the new indoor arena set to be built next to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

The Building news website claims BAM has beaten Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine to a contract it suggests is worth up to £150m.

Known as Project Bradford, the arena would be a focal point of the Etihad campus which is being developed by City Football Group (CFG) and Oak View Group (OVG), the development, advisory and investment company.

The Building website reports that OVG has asked Populous to come up with proposals for the venue, which is part of a wider Eastlands project that would feature a sports tech hub and retail and leisure facilities. OVG has yet to confirm the report, while BAM would not comment following a request.

CFG and OVG teamed up last August after months of reports concerning the potential development of an indoor concert venue on currently derelict land that would rival the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, which is located in the heart of the city centre. They completed the first phase of public consultation on the arena project last October. They said 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.

Phase two of the consultation, involving more detailed plans, was due to commence in late 2019 with a view towards potentially entering a planning application in early 2020.

OVG has previously 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 2018 and the project has since been faced with multiple questions.

Manchester City Council last summer 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 new 20,000-capacity 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.

Images: Oak View Group