Cardiff consortium submits plans for 17,000-capacity arena project

Detailed plans have been submitted for Live Nation and Oak View Group’s proposed new 17,000-capacity arena in Cardiff.

The development consortium, which also features construction firm Robertson Group, has entered a hybrid planning application for the multi-million-pound regeneration of the Atlantic Wharf area of the Welsh city. The Robertson, Live Nation and OVG consortium was announced earlier this year as the successful bidder to be the council’s delivery partners for Phase One of the multi-million-pound regeneration of Butetown, Cardiff.

Phase One of the masterplan will see the delivery of a new 17,000-capacity arena — bigger than the 15,000 previously stated — as well as hotel and associated parking. The application is seeking full planning for Phase One and outline planning for the wider mixed-use masterplan, which will see the regeneration of the area.

It is anticipated, if planning is granted, that the construction of the new arena will commence in autumn 2022 and could open in 2025.

Nick Harris, group executive property director at Robertson, said: “Earlier this year we undertook public consultation events on the proposed plans and have been greatly encouraged by the positive feedback received from the local community.  

“The planning application considers the comments raised during the consultation which has seen a reduction to the scale of the masterplan and its overall building density.

“The submission of planning takes us, with our partners and the council, one step closer to delivering the aspirations of the council to create a vibrant visitor destination within Cardiff Bay.”

The consortium said the new arena will herald a new era for the city, claiming Cardiff currently lacks a modern indoor arena capable of hosting major events. Live Nation currently operates the 7,500-capacity Motorpoint Arena in the centre of Cardiff, which is ultimately expected to be replaced by the new venue.

A consortium spokesperson added: “Designed to host the biggest names in the music industry, family shows, comedy, and sporting events, the arena is set to bring a significant uplift in Cardiff’s live entertainment market, attracting millions of visitors to the city, generating additional economic activity for local hotels, restaurants, and bars.”

The development of the arena and the wider masterplan takes into consideration the 2030 climate neutral aspirations of Cardiff Council, with the energy strategy designed to achieve an operational climate neutral position by 2030.  

Jessica Koravos, chair of OVG International, said: “We see a huge opportunity to bring a genuinely world-class arena to Cardiff – a venue that will host the best in live entertainment, creating thousands of jobs and attracting millions of visitors to the city. 

“We look forward to working with the council and the community to deliver this exciting and ambitious scheme.”

According to details released earlier this year, the planned new venue will cost around £150m (€175.7m/$206.7m) to build and is projected to attract more than one million visitors and inject an estimated £100m into the local economy every year.

In December 2019, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet granted approval for the council to purchase the Red Dragon leisure complex in Cardiff Bay, part of the package of land intended for the arena. The council said securing control of the site provided all of the land it needed to build the new facility.

From this point, the council progressed a procurement process to secure a private-sector partner. It said two offers were received, with the Live Nation consortium, which also includes development partner OVG and construction company Robertson, selected in September.

Images: Cardiff Council