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News Work Progressing Well at the New Leeds Arena

News: Work Progressing Well at the New Leeds Arena

New seats that have been installed this week will be the hottest tickets in town as big-name international acts are already being lined up to play to them at the world-class arena being built in Leeds.

It was a significant milestone as the first of the eye-catching red seats went into the striking Leeds Arena building on Friday July 13. The city centre venue, which promises to be a hugely-popular essential stop-off on the international touring circuit, is structurally almost complete and is now moving into a new construction fit-out phase.

Every single one of the 12,250 seats will have an uninterrupted view of the performers and thanks to the arena’s advanced super-theatre format those views will be unrivalled in how close and clear the stage will appear for the considerable size of the venue.

Leeds Arena will be capable of hosting 13,500 people, with up to 4,000 of those being able to enjoy events standing, thanks to the flexible lower tier retractable and flat-floor seats. Audiences could see big-name music stars, sports events, comedy acts, family shows, major televised awards ceremonies and many other types of performance.

Leeds City Council has commissioned and will own the £60 million arena, which is being built by BAM Construction and will be operated by SMG Europe. Construction will be complete in March 2013, followed by a couple of months final fitting out, and SMG will decide when to open it.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development, Leeds City Council, said at the press launch of this phase of the development:

“Leeds Arena will offer an incredible viewing experience genuinely unlike any other venue of its scale. People will be amazed at how intimate the experience will be given the building’s generous capacity.

“It is going to be a massive asset to Leeds and really put it on the international music map, allowing local people to see some of the world’s finest performers right on their own doorstep.

“It has been really exciting to watch this building grow and develop over the past few months, to the point where now its shape and form can be clearly seen, giving people a real sense of what it’s going to look like when it’s completed next year. The installation of the seats is yet another significant milestone in the construction of this amazing building.”

John Knight, regional vice president, SMG Europe, said:

“As another significant milestone is reached in the construction, excitement is really starting to build within the entertainment industry about Leeds Arena. We are in advanced talks with promoters and agents who are adding Leeds to the touring schedules of some of the world’s biggest artistes and shortly expect to be in a position to name acts in the opening season.

“The unique design means that not only the seats being positioned today but every seat in the venue will have a great view facing the stage. This will create one of the most intimate atmospheres in European arenas, ensuring Leeds Arena will host a wide range of world class performers across pop, rock, r ‘n’ b, classical concerts, sporting events, family shows and comedy.”

Gordon Alexander, construction manager for Leeds Arena, BAM Construction, said:

“Leeds Arena is really starting to take shape and we are very pleased with progress. We work on many high-profile, iconic construction projects and this is one of the most innovative on design and build. It will be an outstanding, high-quality building and one of the finest entertainment venues to be built in recent years.”

The striking red seat colour is intended to both create an intimate, warm atmosphere and given the arena’s super-theatre format, to partly reflect traditional seating at the Leeds Grand and City Varieties theatres.

SMG Europe is the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in Europe, such as the Manchester Evening News Arena and the city’s Bridgewater Hall, the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena and the König Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany. Its parent company, SMG, is based in Philadelphia and operates over 200 venues and public facilities worldwide.

BAM is part of Royal BAM Group, with an impressive pedigree in the construction of large prestige buildings. It was a key contractor behind two of the stadiums in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa- including Soccer City, home to the FIFA World Cup Final. They also led on the £9.2m refurbishment of the Leeds City Varieties theatre and constructed the award-winning Leeds Metropolitan University building, the Rose Bowl.

Posted on Monday 16th July 2012

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