Arts and Culture

From Harry Styles to rainwater-flushing toilets: Everything we know so far about the UK’s biggest indoor arena Co-op Live

Currently under construction in East Manchester, the Co-op Live is set to hold 23,500 people – making it the largest indoor arena in the UK – but what do we know about it so far?

What is it?

The Co-op Live will house the largest floor space of any indoor venue, with tiered seating and a low ceiling aiming to “bring fans closer to the artist”, the developers said.

It will have a capacity of 23,500 for concerts, slightly more than the 21,000 limit at the AO Arena in the city centre – currently the largely indoor arena in the UK.

The venue that has promised fans “exceptional acoustics” was originally meant to open its doors this December, but this date has been pushed back to April 2024.

Where is it?

The arena will be based on the Etihad Campus beside Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

As a result, the Co-op Live will be accessible by bus and tram services from the city centre.

It will also be within 25-minute walking distance from Piccadilly Station.

Those living near the arena will be pleased to know that its innovative bowl design and soundproofing means that noise will be managed.

How much will construction cost?

The arena is set to cost £365million.

Co-op Live is a joint venture between Los Angeles-based Oak View Group and City Football Group. Harry Styles has also been named as an investor.

The former One Direction member said: “Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people and I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project. It very much feels like coming home.”

Who will be performing?

Following the release of her second album, Olivia Rodrigo is one of the first artists set to perform at the Co-op Live in early May. Pre-sale tickets sold out today.

Keane – the rock band known for Somewhere Only We Know – has also been announced to play the arena’s Opening Season.

Likewise, Eric Clapton, the Jonas Brothers, and Niall Horan will be among the first to grace the Co-op Live stage.

Will it be accessible?

The Co-op Live has teamed up with Attitude is Everything – a charity committed to connecting disabled people to live music – to take measures to ensure the venue is accessible.

The design includes lowered service counters, step-free access to all floors, and a designated respite room for those with anxiety.

The venue has said it will be able to facilitate assistance dogs, hearing loops, and more.

Will it be sustainable?

Co-op Live has said that they are committed to building on the sustainability initiatives already in place on the Etihad Campus as well as Manchester City Council’s target of net zero carbon by 2038.

The Co-op Live is planning to increase biodiversity in the East Manchester area by planting trees and wildflowers in a “green ring” around the site.

The arena’s roof – which is 10,500 square meters – will be a site for solar panels.

The developers said: “With one and a half football pitches worth of solar panels on our roof – enough for both City and United to train on – renewable energy and low carbon technologies are just a part of our wider commitment to sustainability.”

It has also been confirmed that all of the venue’s toilets will use 100% rainwater when flushing.

How will it contribute to Manchester?

The arena will donate an annual sum of at least £1million to the Co-op, the arena’s naming right sponsor, to help support the local community. The initiative is known as ‘Gigs that Give Back’.

The developers said that the arena will boost the local economy. The project is currently supporting 3,350 jobs during construction.

Materials for the arena have already been locally sourced – with £150million worth of orders already placed with local firms.

With 32 bars, restaurants, and lounges planned, the Co-op Live will provide a further 1,000 jobs once the venue opens – all of whom will at least be paid the National Living Wage.

Feature image: Aditya Chinchure via Unsplash

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