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Architects appointed for new Bristol arena

20 May 2019

THE COMPANY behind Bristol’s new arena project has appointed architects to transform the city’s historic Brabazon hangars, where Concorde was developed and housed, into a 16,000-capacity live music venue. 

Grimshaw, responsible for projects including the Thermae Bath Spa and the Eden Project, will work with international stadium developer Manica Architecture which built America’s Las Vegas NFL Stadium (cap. 72,000) and the Chase Center (18,050) in San Francisco. 

Malaysian developer YTL won the contract for the North Bristol arena last year, when the previous council-backed project for a 12,000-capacity building in the city centre, to be operated by SMG and Live Nation Entertainment, was scrapped (see LIVE UK issue 226).

“We’ve selected a team that brings real expertise from next generation venues across the world,” says YTL Arena Bristol MD Andrew Billingham.

“We want a venue that caters for all types of audience. This will include more socially connected event spaces for all customer budgets, moving away from the hole-in-the-wall style concessions built underneath concourse decks, which involve a lot of queueing and are not a fantastic customer experience. 

“We’ll create larger scale fanzone type entertainment hubs with real vibrancy.”

He says there is no change to the anticipated £80 million to £100m cost of the project although the exact budget will be determined once plans are finalised. 

A full planning application will be submitted by autumn, while the venue is scheduled for delivery by late 2022/early 2023. Billingham insists it will require no public money with train connections between Bristol’s central Temple Meads station and a new Brabazon Central station already funded. 

But he hopes the council will approve an estimated £10m to open an existing freight line from nearby Bristol Parkway to Brabazon, for passenger traffic.

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