The signing of the agreement confirms SMG as tenant operating the venue, and the council as the landlord owning the building. It follows Leeds City Council’s announcement that it is to press ahead with the scheme despite government delays with the provision of Yorkshire Forward funding for the project. In addition a recent on-line survey and public consultation on the project generated an overwhelming response with over 90% of people stating that they supported the arena.
What: John Sutherland, managing director of SMG Europe and Cllr Andrew Carter sign the lease agreement. A 4mx3m exhibition stand and light-up model of the Arena will also be available for background shots.
Where and when: Monday, 19 October at Leeds Civic Hall antechamber at 12.30pm.
The super-theatre style Leeds Arena is expected to generate £25.5 million a year for the local economy and will bring 450 jobs to the city. With the venue to host some 110 world class entertainment events per year, it will also be a huge boost to the city’s national and international profile and help regenerate and draw investment in to the city centre gateway site.
Councillor Andrew Carter, Leeds City Council executive board member responsible for the development of the arena, said:
“SMG are world class arena operators and the signing of the lease agreement is an important step forward in the scheme’s progress and underlines the company’s commitment to the project. We are delighted to have them on board.
“It is clear that once delivered, the Leeds Arena will be a huge success and a massive boost to the city economically and culturally, creating jobs and attracting investment and tourism to the wider city region. Our survey shows that there is overwhelming support for this project and the council is determined to deliver this for the people of Leeds.”
John Sutherland, managing director of SMG Europe said:
"SMG operates over 200 venues worldwide, and is the largest operator of arenas in Europe. All our experience and research tells us that Leeds will be one of the most successful venues in our portfolio. I am excited by the innovative design and believe the new arena will really put Leeds back on the international entertainment stage."
Progress on the development is moving quickly. The former university building on the city centre site has now been demolished and cleared for construction and the multi-disciplinary design team have now begun the detailed designs for the building which will have a ‘super-theatre’ style layout giving customers the best arena experience in the country.
An outline planning application has been submitted to the council for an informal review before it is formally submitted on the 30 October 2009 and first stage tenders to short-listed construction contractors are due to be dispatched on the 22 October 2009.
On Wednesday, 14 October, at the council’s executive board meeting, council chiefs agreed an alternative funding plan for the scheme in case the Government does not give the go-ahead to Yorkshire Forward’s proposals provide £18m for the development. At the meeting, while the details of the alternative funding package were confidential, councillors confirmed that the package did not involve the council increasing its borrowing for the scheme.
The significant progress on the scheme to date means that work is still on track to start on site before the end of 2010 with the venue expected to open for business in late 2012.
Notes to editors:
SMG Europe was appointed as the preferred operator for the arena in May 2008. SMG is the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in Europe, including Manchester Evening News Arena and Bridgewater Hall, the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, and Oslo Spektrum. SMG has considerable industry knowledge and has largely defined the optimum internal design of the arena.
For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office(0113) 224 3602