Bristol Arena moves closer after Mayor’s funding deal is approved by cabinet

January 17, 2014

From Bristol 24-7

Bristol’s long hoped for arena is a step closer to reality after a financial plan for the construction costs was given the green light last night by Mayor George Ferguson’s cabinet.

Mayor Ferguson also launched the process of selecting an operator for the 12,000-capacity venue near Temple Meads and negotiating the terms of the lease with them.

Bristol City Council needs to borrow up to £91m to fund the cost of building an arena.

The Cabinet agreed to borrow up to £91m to fund the cost of building an arena. Some £38m is expected to come back to the council from rental and other related income and the council is seeking support from the City Deal Economic Development Fund, managed by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the remaining £53m.

The plans will now go before councillors at a full council meeting on February 18 as part of the overall budget proposals. If approved, work could begin in this spring to appoint an operator.

The arena will generate more than £110m for the city’s economy over 25 years, a report commissioned by the mayor predicted last year.

The venue, the centrepiece of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and one of George Ferguson’s key pledges in his election campaign, should be open in 2017.

By 2021, the arena is predicted to generate £2.4m for council coffers once the cash to build it has been repaid.

Mayor Ferguson insisted the business case put forward “makes absolute economic sense for Bristol and the whole region”.

He said: “There are some really important decisions to be made over the next couple of months to ensure we secure the long awaited arena for Bristol.

“We know that there is a ready audience to come to Bristol to see performances and we know that there are operators keen to run the arena for us but we also know that arenas cannot be built without some public subsidy.”

Below: Artist's impression of the arena and surrounding site


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