One of the UK’s top entertainment venue operators has been appointed to run Hull’s new 3,500-capacity auditorium.
Funded by Hull City Council, it will host live music, events, conferences and exhibition in a state-of-the-art building.
Now the council has confirmed that SMG Europe Holdings Ltd has been awarded preferred bidder status to operate the complex.
Subject to a final legal agreement covering occupation, operation and management issues, SMG will be awarded a 25-year contract to run it.
The company, which operates across the UK and Europe, currently runs the First Direct Arena in Leeds, Manchester Arena, York Barbican, and The Baths Hall and Plowright Theatre, both in Scunthorpe.
Further afield, it also operates two venues in Germany and another in Poland.
The venue itself will be built by BAM Construction, the company behind Bridlington’s new £25m council-owned seafront leisure centre.
City council leader Councillor Steven Brady said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the commitment from the council to this project.
“SMG and BAM both have fantastic reputations in their respective industries and I am delighted to have them both on board.
“Hull Venue is a key landmark scheme, which is critical to the development of the city and our plans to make Hull a world-class visitor destination.
“2017 is just the beginning for Hull and these legacy projects will ensure that Hull continues on the journey as a great cultural city after its year in the spotlight.”
John Sharkey, executive vice president, for European operations for SMG Europe said: “We are delighted to be selected as the preferred bidder to operate the new Hull Venue and we look forward to working with the council and the destination marketing team to bring a range of new events to the city, building on what looks like an exciting City of Culture programme.”
BAM construction director Jason Pink said: “We are bringing a lot of skill and experience to Hull Venue. “Several of the team worked on Leeds Arena and bring an understanding of the design issues with them which is helping already.
“We have been on site for a few months with preparatory works and have been working hard on the design challenges of the building so we are now confident and ready to start on the construction programme.”
The new venue is expected to open in 2018.