Investment News | 16 June 2021

Deal agreed to fund new performance venue as operator announced

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A deal has been agreed to forward fund the creation of a new 3,500 capacity performance venue in the heart of the city.

An operator for the new venue, which will be built as part of a £200 million project to regenerate the Becketwell area of Derby, has also been announced.

ASM Global, which already manages the SSE Wembley Arena, Manchester’s AO Arena and the first direct Arena, in Leeds, has been awarded preferred bidder status.

The Becketwell venue will be a fully flexible, scalable space, capable of staging concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences and exhibitions.

Councillor Matthew Holmes, deputy leader of the city council, said: “ASM Global are world-leading venue operators with a proven track record, so we are delighted to be teaming up with them and St James Securities for this project.

“They have the proven ability to bring the very best in entertainment and events to Derby, something that is long overdue.”

The announcement coincides with the news that St James Securities, which is delivering the Becketwell scheme, has exchanged contracts with the city council to forward-fund the project.

The council has assisted with land assembly for the development.

St James Securities will deliver the performance venue to the council, with ASM Global to sign a 30-year lease.

Located in the Becketwell area at the heart of the wider mixed-use development, the purpose-built venue will include a 3,500-capacity events auditorium, plus a smaller 400 capacity secondary space.

It is projected that the Becketwell venue will host over 200 cultural and commercial events each year and attract an additional 250,000 visitors to Derby.

Over 200 new jobs are expected to be created, with the scheme set to generate more than £10 million per year for the area.

Construction work is set to commence shortly on phase one of the Becketwell scheme, comprising 259 build-to-rent apartments, which will be built on the site of the former Debenhams store, in Victoria Street, and a new public square, with completion by spring 2023.

It was recently announced that Grainger plc, the UK’s largest listed provider of private rental homes, had agreed to forward fund, acquire, and operate the build-to-rent element of the scheme at a cost of £37.375 million.

Work on the performance venue is set to commence in early 2022, with handover to the operator in 2024.

Paul Morris, development director at St James Securities, said: “Our aim has always been to create a whole new part of Derby city centre with its own distinct character and identity.

“To see phases one and two coming forward in quick succession will provide huge confidence to investors and occupiers who are considering investing in and locating in Becketwell.

“We believe this is the beginning of an exciting renaissance of Derby city centre.”

Councillor Holmes said: “It’s vital that we move forward to deliver a new venue as part of Derby’s recovery plan and for the city’s leisure and culture ambitions.

“By working with our private sector partners, we can do just that and bring a state-of-the-art entertainments and events venue to Derby.

“The new venue is an ambitious development that will also diversify and strengthen our local economy. It demonstrates confidence in the city to build back better and we look forward to the day when the venue will open its doors.”

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