A consortium has been selected for the delivery of the new 15,000-capacity indoor arena at Atlantic Wharf in Cardiff, Wales.

Following the completion of the full business case, Cardiff City Council has appointed the consortium of Live Nation, Oak View Group as operators and Robertson as developer.

The new indoor arena will create a premier, UK-visitor destination, which could attract one million visitors every year and bring more than £100 million per annum into the local economy.

Delivering a new indoor arena is widely regarded as the missing piece of city infrastructure needed to cement Cardiff's international reputation as a major events city. It has been a long-standing ambition and aspiration shared by successive council administrations, which have retained a ring-fenced budget since 2006 to help make a private-sector led proposal, supported by the council, a reality.

The full business case for the project is within an ‘affordability envelope' for the project that was set out at the beginning of the procurement process.

Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, Cllr Russell Goodway, said: 

The city's business community have backed the project for many years, particularly the hospitality sector. The new indoor arena will be a top tier UK visitor attraction and the financial benefits that it will bring to Butetown and the wider area will be significant - with up to 2,000 jobs created during the construction phase and a further 1,000 jobs in operation when the Atlantic Wharf masterplan becomes a reality.

Through the Atlantic Wharf masterplan, significant improvements will be made to the public realm and to transport links, and there is no doubt that the regeneration of this site will kick-start the next phase of regeneration in Cardiff Bay.

As we always do, we are working hand in hand with private sector to get this done. The Council's aim has always been to deliver a tier one arena on a commercial basis. The Council has agreed to raise the funding, which will be recouped through a long term lease with the operators, guaranteed by their parent companies.

The pandemic has meant that completing the full business case has taken a few more months longer than originally expected and the indoor arena is expected to be open for business by the end of 2024 rather than during the spring of 2024.

Graham Walters, chief operating officer, Live Nation (UK Venues), said: 

We are committed to delivering a world-class arena with Cardiff Council and our consortium partners OVG and Robertson, that will offer maximum benefit to the local community and the wider region to create one of Wales' key cultural locations and destination venues. Live Nation brings significant first-hand local knowledge from our long-standing operation in Cardiff for more than two decades and we will cement the new arena's position as a pivotal centre for live entertainment with internationally renowned events.

Tim Leiweke, CEO and co-founder OVG, said: 

I'm very proud that OVG is developing a new class of venue in some of the greatest cities around the world, and I'm delighted that Cardiff is joining that list. We're excited to get to work with our partners Live Nation and Robertson to deliver a first-class arena capable of bringing the world's best events to Cardiff.

Nick Harris, group executive property director, Robertson, said: 

We welcome the report which confirms our status, alongside our partners, to deliver phase one of the Atlantic Wharf, Butetown Masterplan.  This is a significant step towards delivering the aspirations of the Council to create a vibrant visitor destination within Cardiff Bay.

We were greatly encouraged by the positive feedback received during our public consultations recently, and look forward to working together, with our partners and the Council, to prepare the full planning application which will be submitted in October.

The Delivery Agreement will be signed with the Live Nation, Oak View Group and Robertson Consortium once they and the Council have met a number of conditions including securing planning permission. The revised timeline for delivery of the Arena is:

September 2021: Cabinet decision on the Full Business Case and Delivery Agreement;

October 2021: Contract award notice issued and developer to submit planning application;

February 2022: Planning decision and initial site works to begin;

March 2022: Contract signed;

April 2022: Construction begin;

Arena opens end of 2024.

@PanStadiaArena