Design & Development

YTL Arena opening date delayed again, capacity increase announced

The opening date for the new YTL Arena in Bristol has been pushed back until late 2025 or early 2026, with the capacity of the venue set to be increased from 17,000 to 19,000.

It was initially hoped that the arena could open in 2023, but in April 2021 the delivery date slipped to 2024. This has now been pushed back further due to delays resulting from the impact of COVID-19 and the general challenges in the construction market.

Andrew Billingham, chief executive of developer YTL, revealed the news in a statement released today (Monday). Billingham said that while “good progress” has been made on the development, the estimated opening date is now “late 2025 to early 2026”.

YTL has now entered the final stages of design and is holding talks with major contractors, with work having commenced on key pieces of infrastructure including new road connections, power supplies and site preparation works. Discussions are also continuing regarding the train station at Brabazon.

In October, YTL received planning consent to build Brabazon Park, a new urban public park that will serve as the “front door” to YTL Arena. The park will span 15 acres and include a 2.5-acre lake, with construction planned to begin this year.

The arena is being developed on the former Filton Airfield, with the wider complex to also include conference spaces. The arena itself will sit in the Central Hangar of the Brabazon Hangars in the north of Bristol.

Billingham said: “YTL is totally committed to opening Bristol’s first major indoor music arena and entertainment complex. We have been improving our design and have created the opportunity to increase the maximum capacity of the arena from 17,000 to 19,000, with over 2,000 premium seats.

“We will have the region’s largest columnless exhibition and convention halls with 6,000 square metres of floor area, height clearance of 21 metres and banqueting capacity for 4,000 people, together with a flexible hub for entertainment, film, TV and music rehearsals.

“As both owner and operator of YTL Arena Bristol, our ambition has always been to create a vibrant and unique mix of bars and lounges in our design which showcase the very best of Bristol. That is why we have been working with Bristol-based interior designers Studio B.”

Kyle Clarke, founder of Studio B, added: “The highlight of our year was winning the YTL Arena work. Since we received the instruction, we’ve been completely consumed with designing selected spaces within the arena to completely blow the customer experience through the roof.

“There isn’t another arena in the country that will come close. Huge hats off to the YTL Arena team for working with our relatively small, young, ambitious Bristol studio. Together, we’ve got exciting plans to bring in other local artists and small businesses, harnessing Bristol’s endless skill and talent to ensure the arena feels proudly part of the city.”