Manchester Arena to undergo major modifications

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Manchester Arena re-design Image: ASM Global

The indoor arena in Manchester, England – Manchester Arena – will undergo major modifications in what has become apparent from bold new designs unlocked recently.

The Manchester Arena sits immediately north of the city center and partly above Manchester Victoria station in air rights space.

The Los Angeles-based event management company ASM Global – which runs the venue – has released artists’ impressions of new links between the arena and Victoria Station, space for fans boosted from 21,000 to 24,000 and a canopy design inspired by the Manchester worker bee. It will also include new food and drink experiences on the event floor.

A spokeswoman informed that the plans will be opened up for public consultations over the coming months.

The Manchester worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester and has been an emblem for the city for over 150 years. The bee denotes Mancunians’ hard work ethic and the city being a hive of activity. It has also come to represent the sense of unity in our great city.

Initial designs have been drawn up by US-based architect HOK, which has designed similar projects including the 70,000-capacity Mercedes Benz Stadium at Atlanta in US.

As there will be a “dramatic increase” in standing room, designers say that the venue would become the “biggest indoor arena in Europe”.

The artwork reveals new concourses and levels within the building, a floor devoted to VIP boxes and lounges and a grass-covered roof. Restaurants and bars would feature on the ‘event floor’, while a space would be made available solely to sell merchandise.

Plans are also in the offing to build a memorial for the people who lost their lives in the terrorist attack on Manchester Arena in May 2017 which left 23 dead and scores injured. The authorities concerned are already in touch with the families of those affected in connection with building a memorial.

A clear picture has still not emerged as to whether Manchester Victoria station will be upgraded in connection with the works, although ASM informed that it will “work closely with the Manchester City Council on wider infrastructure planning”.

Sources revealed that it will also fully focus on the sustainability factor and will become one of the lowest carbon buildings in the UK.

To mark 25 years since the arena first opened on July 15, 1995, the “early stage vision” was unveiled to “mark a year of celebration” for the people, communities and businesses that have helped to make it a success.

A budget vis-à-vis the entire development and a timeline as regards when the transformation work would begin or will be completed is still not known.

Though much detail is not out, ASM Global insist their plans represent a “significant investment” which will make certain that the arena remains “at the heart of the city for the next 25 years and beyond”.

John Sharkey, Executive Vice-President of European Operations for ASM Global, remarked, “These plans have been made public earlier than intended, as we are still in the process of consulting with Manchester City Council, our neighbors and landlord on the design – their input and involvement in this journey will be crucial,” Sharkey further remarked.

“In particular, we’re working to ensure our final proposals fit with the Council’s wider infrastructure planning. We are also in dialogue with the families of the May 2017 terrorist attack around a fitting memorial for the City Room,” he added.

Sharkey also put in, “Our ambition throughout this process is to embed sustainability into every corner of the Arena, with the goal of becoming one of the lowest carbon venues in Europe.”

An independent study conducted by advisory firm Grant Thornton revealed that visitors to Manchester Arena spent an estimated £114m in the City Centre in 2018.

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