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Design & Development

Oak View Group lands contract to deliver new arena in Vienna

Featured image credit: Kronaus Mitterer

Venue development, advisory and investment company Oak View Group has been selected to lead the construction and operation of a new arena in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

OVG has been named as the ‘best bidder’ for the project following an 18-month process led by the City of Vienna’s Wien Holding company. The process was set up to identify a strategic partner capable of planning, constructing, financing and operating the arena.

OVG said the new arena will become the “best in continental Europe” and allow Vienna to compete with other worldwide capital markets and host more leading events.

The City of Vienna launched the planning process for a new arena in 2019 with the aim of creating a “must-play” destination for European music tours and major sporting events such as the Erste Bank ATP 500 tennis tournament, which already takes place in the city.

In February 2020, the City of Vienna launched a design competition to secure a partner to help develop a new arena with a capacity of around 20,000. The venue will be built in Neu Marx, a district of Vienna that has developed in recent years with a focus on the media, cultural and creative industries.

The City of Vienna has selected architects Kronaus/Mitterer/Gallister to design the arena, with sustainability, ecology and climate protection to be at the heart of the process. The total cost of the construction will be €384m (£328m/$429m), and it is hoped work can begin in 2025 and be completed by the end of 2029.

The next phase of the award process will include planning, zoning and environmental impact assessments for the project before the contract signing later this year.

OVG has built several new arenas in the last two years, including Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, New York’s UBS Arena, and Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California. Next year, the company will open Co-op Live, a new 23,500-capacity arena in the English city of Manchester, while it is also planning a new project in Las Vegas.

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of OVG, said: “Vienna is a capital market that deserves one of Europe’s top entertainment arenas. As the gateway between Western and Eastern Europe and again ranked as the world’s most liveable city this year, it needs an arena that can attract the world’s best events.

“For those that doubt our commitment and wherewithal, there have been seven new arenas built in the world in the last two years and OVG did them all. We are committed to this project and will deliver on our commitments.”

Francesca Bodie, president of business development and lead negotiator on behalf of OVG, added: “We have huge admiration for the City of Vienna for having the vision to deliver continental Europe’s best arena, as well as the initiative to find a partner with a proven record of delivering outstanding new arenas that minimise the cost to taxpayers and prioritise innovation and sustainability.”

OVG recently announced the acquisition of Rhubarb Hospitality Collection, a London-based high-end hospitality provider. Rhubarb will be designing and developing bespoke menus for the premium spaces at OVG venues, including the new arena in Vienna.