Investment News | 17 January 2024

New £45.8m performance venue starts to take shape

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Derby’s new £45.8 million entertainment and conference venue which is being built in Becketwell has reached another milestone as the auditorium starts to take shape.

Just six months after main contractors Bowmer + Kirkland moved on site, the steelwork alongside rows of concrete steps, which will become a tiered seating area, is clearly visible.

An overhead steel gantry containing 200 tonnes of steelwork for lighting and other technical equipment is also being constructed.

Councillor Nadine Peatfield, cabinet member for city centre, regeneration, culture and tourism at Derby City Council, said: “It’s thrilling to see the building being built from the ‘inside out’ with the seating area being installed before the walls.

“It’s amazing to think this time next year the venue will be almost complete and getting ready to open.”

Stephen Green, contracts manager at Bowmer + Kirkland, said: “This is an exciting milestone as the purpose of the building is now starting to reveal itself.

“Despite the recent inclement weather, construction is on programme, and we are delighted to be working with all our project partners to bring such an exciting development to Derby and the wider region.”

In the coming weeks, additional steel beams will be fitted to create the roof, ready for the concrete pour.

This will be followed by a layer of insulation, plasterboard and quilting to ensure the building is soundproofed.

The finished building will contain 1,200 tonnes of steel. Heavy machinery is helping the 10 operatives responsible for fixing the steel into place.

The heaviest single piece weighs 3.5 tonnes and the longest single span of steel is 12.9 metres.

The new 3,500 capacity performance venue represents the latest phase of the £200 million Becketwell regeneration scheme, which is being led by St James Securities.

Development director Paul Morris said: “It’s great to see the new entertainment venue taking shape in front of our eyes.

“This fantastic venue will offer a larger, more flexible space than Derby has had in the past and will collaborate with and complement the activities of Derby Arena to provide the best possible events programme for Derby and the wider region.”

Set to host over 200 cultural and commercial events each year, the venue is expected to attract an additional 250,000 visitors to Derby, create over 200 new local jobs, and increase levels of investment in surrounding areas of the city centre.

The venue will be owned by Derby City Council and leased to and operated by ASM Global, a leading venue management company, whose UK portfolio includes OVO Arena Wembley, AO Arena (Manchester), and Olympia and OVO Hydro (Glasgow).

Practical completion and handover are scheduled for the first quarter of 2025, just a couple of weeks later than was originally planned when contracts were signed in March 2022.

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