Oak View Group picks Royal BAM Group for construction, Populous for design

Oak View Group appointed Royal BAM Group as construction partner as well as architecture design firm Populous to build the planned 350 million pound ($433 million) arena project in Manchester, England.

BAM has experience building stadiums across the world and has been active in England’s North West since 1933. It has built some of Manchester’s most recognizable structures, such as the City Football Academy, the National Graphene Institute and the Co-Operative Group HQ.

Among its numerous projects in England, Populous, the principal architect and designer of the new venue, has designed arenas in Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield as well as Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London Stadium and the new Wembley Stadium, all in London.

The remaining project team is made up of BuroHappold, ME Engineers, Vanguardia, Turner & Townsend and Deloitte.

OVG CEO and co-founder Tim Leiweke said he was thrilled to have a project team of such caliber to fall back on. (OVG is also the owner of VenuesNow.)

He also addressed the current uncertainties faced by the live entertainment business, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this new venue was a much needed investment in Manchester’s economy.

“We live in unprecedented times and we stand in solidarity with everyone affected by this disease. We obviously have a particular concern for those who work in the live entertainment industry, which is hugely impacted by the current situation. But I know Manchester, and this city has always come back stronger from whatever has hit it. We are 100% committed for the long haul,” he said earlier this week, when the planning submission for the proposed venue was validated and uploaded to the Manchester City Council planning portal.

Manchester already has one major arena, but market analysis by Ekosgen and PWC on behalf of OVG has shown that, with a growing market in the U.K. for live entertainment, Manchester’s economic and cultural strength supports two successful arenas.

Several cities in the U.K., including London and Birmingham, demonstrate that there can be space for two major arenas in one city.

Manchester’s city center businesses, including hotels, restaurants and retail businesses, could benefit hugely from a new arena.

“In the most conservative scenario, a second arena would lead to a 58% increase in (gross value added) from visitor expenditure compared to the current position, while the most ambitious scenario would result in an 80% increase” in Manchester, according to OVG’s analysis.

OVG has said that it will ensure that jobs and employment opportunities at the pay level Manchester designates as a living wage or higher are made available to residents, 3,350 jobs during construction and more than 1,000 once the arena opens.

Ian Fleming, regional director for BAM in the North West, said in a statement: “Manchester has become a vast and vastly impressive city. Nevertheless, this visionary development will stand out for a long time to come.”

Declan Sharkey, senior principal and project architect at Populous, said in a statement that the new arena for Manchester would “set new benchmarks in sustainable arena design.”