People are being given a first look inside Britain’s biggest indoor arena this week – with new images being shared of the upcoming £350m Manchester venue.
The 23,500 capacity stadium is being built in the Eastlands area – with developers Oak View Group striking a 15-year sponsorship deal to name the venue Co-Op Live.
Hosting live music, comedy, sport, and various other types of entertainment, Co-Op Live will feature a “smart bowl” design with 32 bars, lounges, restaurants, food markets, suites and club spaces inside.
New footage offers a first glimpse of what the venue will look like.
Co-Op says the new arena will be the “envy across Europe” and the “one stop every musician will look forward to when touring”.
The company also has plans to make the venue the “most socially responsible” in the continent – tying in with Manchester’s zero carbon agenda.
Co-Op Live is expected to generate around £1m each year for Co-op Foundation causes.
Singer-songwriter Harry Styles has also invested in the project, citing the “contribution it will make to the city, and most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester.”
Construction of the venue has generated controversy, however, with critics arguing the city will be unable to sustain a second large-scale performance venue.
ASM Global, operators of the existing AO Arena by Victoria Station, denounced the approval of Co-Op Live, claiming there was “compelling evidence [which] shows there is simply no market for a second major arena in Manchester”, with the venue set to “pull visitors, footfall and spend away from the city centre.”
More than 580 objections were also raised in a public consultation.
But Oak View Group have said Co-Op Live will cater for a different crowd, and that over 20 years the two arenas will generate up to £1.5 billion for the UK economy.
The AO Arena also announced its own redevelopment plans last year – looking at ways to expand capacity to 24,000 and thus take the title of ‘biggest indoor arena in UK’ itself.