National Arena wins final £25m funding

04 Feb 2007

The Herald, by Helen Archer

The construction of the Scotland National Arena is set to go ahead after Scottish Enterprise Glasgow confirmed it had put the final piece of funding in place.

The organisation is to contribute £25m to the 12,500-seat arena, which will sustain 1400 jobs and play a major part in the regeneration of the Clyde waterfront.

It is also hoped the project will significantly strengthen Glasgow's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and play a major part in attracting tourists to the city.

The £25m will be added to the £77m granted by the private sector, the £15m from Glasgow City Council, and a further £1m from the European Union.

Architects Foster and Partners, who also designed the SECC's Clyde Auditorium, will develop the £118m arena, and plan to make it one of the finest in Europe.

The arena is the first major development of the SECC's £570m Queen's Dock 2 project, which was granted planning permission last year. As well as the arena, there are plans for a hotel, public space and housing.

Ambitious targets include attracting more than one million extra visitors over the next 10 years.

It is hoped that the alternative events venue will free up space in the SECC and allow the city to bid for more and bigger conferences. Last year, it hosted 203 conferences, which generated 460,000 hotel room nights, and the new venue is expected to add extra capacity to increase this figure. Stuart Patrick, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow's operations director, said: "This arena is a vital new asset if the city is to continue to grow as a tourist destination. We believe in economic terms it will have a significant positive impact for the economy of the city and the wider Glasgow area. It puts Glasgow in a leading position to capture a bigger share of the lucrative conference market, particularly high-spending medical events."

At the very least he estimated it would inject an extra £35m a year into the local economy and sustain 1400 new jobs.

He added: "One in five of the city's hotel bedrooms are currently filled by conference delegates and the arena gives us scope to significantly increase this figure. By 2016 we hope that visitors will be spending 60% more money in the city and this development will have a big part to play in achieving these targets.

"The successful development of this site is an important component of the overall Clyde Waterfront regeneration. This project is not just important to Glasgow, but will be an asset for the whole country."

Mike Closier, group chief executive of SECC, said: "This part of the funding is fundamental to the construction of the arena and without this contribution from Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, Scotland would be deprived of a world-class arena.

"This is the news we've been waiting for and it's now a case of full steam ahead with the construction of the Scottish National Arena. It will dramatically improve the entertainments experience for concertgoers and free up space in the SECC to host more exhibitions and conferences.

"Moreover, it will boost the city's bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games and I'm sure it will become the pride of the people of Glasgow and the whole of Scotland."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "The great strength of the Commonwealth Games bid is that the vast majority of the facilities which will be used in the games will be constructed regardless of whether our bid will be successful."

 

Reproduced by kind permission Helen Archer

  • Architect's impression of National Arena, copyright Foster and Partners