February start for Arena construction

CONSTRUCTION work on the Leeds Arena will begin in February next year if councillors give the go-ahead next week.

Councillors will discuss the next stage of the Arena project and will be asked to approve the scheme’s final designs and to allow the construction contract to be let at a meeting on Wednesday.

A council report says the scheme is on time and within budget with the venue due to open in January or February 2013.

Coun Richard Lewis, executive member responsible for city development, said: “It is fantastic that, as planned, we are now in a position to move forward into the next phase of the Leeds Arena project, in anticipation of building work starting on site early next year.

“In these difficult economic times the Leeds Arena project will boost the construction industry and bring jobs, training opportunities and economic investment to the city,

“It will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the northern quarter of the city centre and landowners are now starting to bring forward proposals to take advantage of the economic opportunities arising from scheme. This will improve both the quality and diversity of the area and its linkages between the city centre and Little London.

“We will continue our work to create an acoustically and visually excellent performance venue, while ensuring the whole city benefits from the economic, social and cultural opportunities the arena will bring.“

The council believes the venue will attract 1m visitors a year to the city and inject £25m annually into the city’s economy.

Excavations of the city centre arena site at Clay Pit Lane are now complete, hoardings are up and initial survey work has been completed.

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