8,000-seat indoor arena planned for Edinburgh

Entertainment, leisure and sports venue consultancy Lothian Leisure Development Ltd (LLD) on Monday announced a partnership with Birmingham-based NEC Group to deliver a new privately-funded 8,000 capacity indoor arena near the Edinburgh Bypass. 

NEC Group, owned by US private equity giant Blackstone, said LLD is currently in discussion with several parties to secure funding for the development phase of the project.

It said the next key milestone for the project is expected to be a planning application by the end of 2020 and further details will be released in due course.

“A site for the arena has been secured at Straiton just outside Edinburgh city centre, with plans to transform the 30-acre site into a vibrant mixed-use leisure and entertainment destination,” said NEC Group.

“Together with the 8,000 capacity venue, proposals for the wider development includes conference, retail and leisure space, a cinema and two hotels.

“The venue will be a much-needed addition to the capital, complementing Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment offering and providing a significant tourism and jobs boost for the region.”

NEC Group said it 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.”

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.  

“Edinburgh is well known for its wonderful cultural offering but remains one of the only European capital cities without an indoor arena and so we’re excited by the thought of being able to bring some big names in entertainment to the region.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.