BAM Co-op Live Arena opening delayed yet again

BAM’s vast Co-op Live arena project in Manchester suffered yet another setback last night as the opening was delayed for a third time.

The £365m Eastlands arena project has turned into an opening fiasco with three major gigs called off at the last minute.

The vast arena project was due to be opened by comedian Peter Kay last week, but his shows have been postponed twice.

Last night a new fault scuppered a gig by rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. And now US singer Olivia Rodrigo has called off two sell-out gigs for this weekend.

The arena’s operators blamed last night’s cancellation on an incident during the soundcheck, when a component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system separated from the ductwork.

Developer Oak View Group said independent inspectors would now test all similar nozzles.

Tim Leiweke, chairman and CEO of Oak View Group who developed Co-Op Live in partnership with the City Football Group, said they could not run any event until it was “absolutely safe to do so”.

Headaches for the venue became clear last month when the capacity at a test event was reduced with just hours’ notice. This was put down to issues with its electrical systems.

Rumours are now circulating that BAM faces big losses on the 23,500-capacity Manchester arena project.

The latest delays emerged as Royal Bam Group released a trading update for the first three months of the year this morning.

It warned that the UK and Irish business had a lower contribution versus the comparable period last year as the performance of Construct UK was impacted by project delays.

But civil engineering activity at BAM Nuttall remained high, especially in rail, and the business performed strongly.

The UK order book improved substantially versus year-end 2023, driven by civil engineering with recent project wins included Eastern Green Link 2, and the project to deliver converter stations for the largest electricity transmission project in the UK.


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