New concert venue

8,000-seat indoor arena planned for Edinburgh

New arena will be based off the by-pass

An 8,000-seat indoor arena is planned for the outskirts of Edinburgh enabling the city to compete with the Glasgow Hydro for some of the biggest entertainment shows.

Lothian Leisure Development, a UK based entertainment, leisure and sports venue consultancy, has announced a partnership with Birmingham-based NEC Group to deliver the privately funded arena off the by-pass.

A site has been secured at Straiton, with plans to transform the 30-acre site into a vibrant mixed-use leisure and entertainment destination.  It will provide a concert and exhibition venue, cinema and two hotels.

NEC Group, which already operates two indoor arenas in Birmingham, is supporting LLD to progress the scheme proposals to full feasibility stage, taking on full management of the arena including event programming, hospitality, commercial rights, catering and ticketing once planning permissions are in place.

Dave Fowler, business development director at LLD said: “These exciting proposals showcase the modern, indoor arena that Edinburgh deserves, and with operating partner NEC on board the capital is assured a pipeline of the world’s greatest entertainment talent. 

“We also look forward to applying many of the other aspects of the hugely successful NEC Campus to Edinburgh in due course.  We see this as a revolution in entertainment provision for one of the world’s most cultural capitals – and one which will benefit all sections of the community.”

Artist’s impression of arena at night

Phil Mead, arenas and ticket factory chairman at NEC Group said: “We host over 700 events per year in the Birmingham area and have always planned to take our successful events model to new cities with the backing of our majority shareholder, Blackstone.

“We are already looking forward to opening the redeveloped Bradford Live venue in 2021 and are delighted to now confirm our partnership with LLD which will hopefully see us manage our first venue in Scotland.”

Event and concert promoters welcomed the plan. Dave McGeachan from Scottish concert promoter, DF Concerts, said: “These days it is rare that a capital city doesn’t have an Arena, so this is a long awaited and positive addition to the Scottish entertainment market.”  

Mark Mackie of Edinburgh-based, Regular Music, said: “A venue offering audience capacities between 5,000 to 8,000 will dovetail nicely with the existing facilities in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  We eagerly await the opening when we look forward to presenting a varied range of artists.”

LLD is currently in discussion with several parties to secure funding for the development phase of the project. Over the coming months LLD and the NEC Group will be working closely to progress the proposals to full scheme design stage and to carry out a series of public consultations.

The next key milestone for the project is expected to be a planning application by the end of 2020.

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