Design & Development

Co-op Live’s bowl welcomes first guests to mark ‘topping out’

Featured image credit: Co-op Live

Featured image credit: Co-op Live

Co-op Live, the Manchester venue that will be the UK’s largest live entertainment arena when completed, has entered the final stages of construction ahead of its grand opening next year.

The 23,500-capacity arena – due to open in April 2024 – welcomed the first guests to its main bowl as it held a ‘topping out’ ceremony attended by partners, venue stakeholders and premium guests, marking the final stage of roof construction.

Attendees were invited to sign the final acoustically treated roof cassette, lifted into place to top out the structure, with their signatures becoming part of the permanent structure.

Attendees signed the final acoustically treated roof cassette

Led by a keynote welcome from joint-venture partner Oak View Group (OVG) chief executive Tim Leiweke, the event highlighted the positive impact that the arena will have on communities both locally and nationally, most notably in job creation.

Leiweke said: “In the last decade, Manchester has slipped from a top three global concert market, and is now no longer even in the top 10. That is not a reflection of the music or audiences of Manchester, which are stronger than ever. It is a reflection on investment in cultural infrastructure.

“Co-op Live will put Manchester back where it deserves to be, as a global entertainment powerhouse.”

Co-op Live — set to cost £365m (€423m/$452m) to build — is located on the Etihad Campus which is also home to Premier League football club Manchester City, a founding member of the City Football Group who is partnering with OVG on the project.

Attendees at the ‘topping out’ ceremony

James Wimpenny, executive director at arena developer BAM Construct, said: “Co-op Live will be a world class arena for Manchester and I’m proud to say that 80% of our construction orders have been placed with local businesses in the North-West of England. That’s almost £200m of arena funding that has been spent within the local economy.

“Alongside my team at BAM, we’ve brought onboard 386 local suppliers, 40% of which are based within five miles of this development. A further 36% are from the Greater Manchester area. Co-op Live is a demonstration that major construction projects can provide both economic and social stimulus for the region while minimising the carbon impact by keeping supply chains local.”

The venue had previously been expected to open by the end of this year, but it emerged last month that the first events will not be held until next spring. It is scheduled to stage around 120 shows per year.