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Cardiff’s new Indoor Arena moves into the development phase

Cardiff Arena. Credit: Cardiff Council

Enabling works for Cardiff’s new 15,000-capacity indoor area are set to begin in January 2024 – as the project moves into the delivery phase – with an opening date earmarked for the end of 2026.

The Indoor Arena project – a circa 250m investment into Cardiff Bay – will bring much-needed jobs, not only during the construction phase, but also once the arena opens to the public, while supporting the city’s cultural and creative sector for years to come.

The overall Atlantic Wharf Masterplan, which includes the arena is expected to create thousands of new jobs.

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet will discuss the funding strategy for the arena at its next meeting on Thursday, November 23. Cabinet members will hear how the project is self-financing in the long term and will be recommended to sign the Development and Funding Agreement with Live Nation, which will commit to the future long-term lease of the venue so that construction works can begin. The project has been hit by significant inflation, but Live Nation has agreed to cover the increased costs of constructionand the council’s capital contribution will be fully recovered over the term of the lease.

The indicative timeline for the delivery of the new arena has been confirmed in the latest Cabinet report on the project:

  • January 2024 – enabling works begin
  • May/June 2024 – Signing of the lease agreement between the council and Live Nation
  • June 2024 – Main arena construction begins
  • Late 2026 – Indoor arena opens to the public.

Cllr Russell Goodway, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development said: “Delivering a new indoor arena has been an ambition for successive Council administrations for over 20 years and was a key pledge we made at both the 2017 and 2022 elections. The report to Cabinet is significant as it clearly shows that the Arena is deliverable and affordable, both for Live Nation and the Council. It is a significant milestone, on the complex journey to commencing building work, and means the project can now proceed at pace. ”

“The Arena and wider masterplan are a significant investment into the local economy, kick starting the next phase of regeneration of Cardiff Bay, creating jobs and opportunities for local people while acting as a catalyst for further investment into this historic part of the city. It also forms the missing part of the jigsaw in Cardiff’s music offering, as identified within our Music Strategy.

“The arena will significantly increase the number of people visiting Cardiff for events and concerts, benefittingexisting hospitality venues as well as the new developments that will be built as part of this regeneration scheme. The increased footfall will also complement the new METRO transport extension to Cardiff Bay, as well as improving Cardiff’s credentials to attract more and bigger events to the city.

“The current administration has made it clear from the outset that the councilis committed to transforming this historic part of Cardiff into a leading UK destination for leisure, culture, and tourism, attracting more people to visit the city that we hope will stay for a longer period of time. The project did need to adjust following significant changes in the economic market conditions following the pandemic and I am delighted this has now been resolved and the final legal agreement is set to be signed, so the build can begin next year.”