Aichi Prefecture and the Aichi Smart Arena Group have signed the project agreement for construction and operation of the new Aichi Arena.

The project will adopt the BT (build and transfer) & concession scheme which consists of a BT phase and concession (granting of the venue management rights) phase. The group is headed by Maeda Corporation (BT phase) and NTT Docomo (maintenance and management phase). The new Aichi Arena is expected to open in the summer of 2025.

During the project agreement signing ceremony held in the prefectural capital city of Nagoya, Aichi Governor Hideaki Ohmura said: “The group is headed by Maeda Corporation, which has a vast experience in the concession scheme, and the mobile communication giant NTT Docomo, while the arena and its surrounding landscape will be designed by Kengo Kuma so we will have a world-class arena that we can be proud of.”

Soji Maeda, president of Maeda Corporation, added: “With the new BT & concession scheme, we can fully utilise the know-how of the private companies involved.”

Motoyuki Ii, the NTT Docomo president, expressed that the company will “use its cutting-edge ICT solutions to provide world-class services” while Kengo Kuma also joined the ceremony online and explained his “tree-shaped arena” design which blends in with the natural beauty of the Meijo Park site.

The project began on December 18, 2020 when Aichi Prefecture commenced its comprehensive assessment for open bidding and after evaluating three proposals, the Aichi Smart Arena Group was announced as the winner with the accepted bid price of JPY 19.9991 billion (£133.7m/€153.5m/$185.1m).

As well as Maeda Corporation and NTT Docomo, the group is comprised of Anschutz Sports Holdings (AEG), Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing, Tokyu Corporation, Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting, Development Bank of Japan, and Cushman & Wakefield. The project will also call upon the talents of top architects from Kengo Kuma & Associates, MANICA Architecture, and Daiken Sekkei.

The current Aichi Arena inside the outer citadel of the Nagoya Castle was completed in 1964 and has since been perceived as one of Aichi’s most iconic live entertainment venues through hosting annual summer events such as the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament for more than half a century.

The arena is now fast ageing, however, and since its facilities and capacity do not meet the international standards required to be the main indoor venue for the 2026 Asian Games, co-hosted by the Aichi Prefecture and the City of Nagoya, the new Aichi Arena will be built on a 4.6-hectare land inside the North Park of the Maijo Park (North Ward).

The new arena will consist of facilities including the main arena, sub arena, and multi-purpose hall, and will be built using reinforced concrete and steel construction methods. The five-storey building will have a total floor area of 54,800 square metres, of which 26,700 square metres will be the building area.

The main arena will be 30 metres in height while the maximum capacity of the whole venue will be 17,000. The new arena’s ‘hybrid oval’ bowl will have combined features of both oval and horseshoe bowl styles enabling the arena to host multiple codes of sports and music events and thus allowing it to become one of Japan’s world-class live entertainment venues.

The key concept for the project points to “global”, “community”, and “smart”, and the NTT group will introduce a new venue maintenance and management system with its cutting-edge technologies while providing “world-first and Japan-first” services. The arena will also fully utilise AEG’s powerful networks to attract international live events on a regular basis. The operator will also promote the arena to one day become “a holy ground for table tennis and dance competitions”.

The prefecture and the Aichi Smart Arena Group will sign on a specific business contract in June before the design and build phase starts and runs until March 2025, while the subsequent maintenance and operation phase will run from April 2025 to March 2055.

The group will now propose a “service purchase fee”, calculated based on the sum of the design and construction fees and subsequent maintenance and management fees minus projected income, to the prefecture, which has set the estimated bidding price at maximum JPY 20bn.

Images: MANICA Architecture/ Kengo Kuma & Associates

Article provided by The Stadium Hub