Bristol Arena opening delayed - but it will be bigger than planned

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The YTL Arena at Filton was originally due to open in 2024

The long-awaited opening of the YTL Arena has been delayed again, but it will have 2,000 more seats than first planned. In an update, YTL CEO Andrew Billingham says delays resulting from the impact of Covid and the general challenges in the construction market means the estimated opening of the area in the Brabazon Hangar at Filton is between late 2025 and early 2026, a year later than originally promised.

Mr Billingham said YTL has been making ‘good progress’ on the development of the arena and are now entering the final stages of design and talking with major contractors.

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He said: “Work has begun on key pieces of infrastructure required including new road connections, establishing new power supplies and site preparation works. The train station at Brabazon is an important element and discussions continue on how this might be brought forward.”

Bristol’s first major indoor music arena and entertainment complex will also be bigger than planned, with the maximum capacity now 19,000 rather than 17,000, thanks to an additional 2,000 ‘premium’ seats.

Mr Billingham said: “We will have the region’s largest column-less exhibition and convention halls with 6,000m2 of floor area, height clearance of 21 metres and banqueting capacity for 4,000, together with a flexible hub for entertainment, film, TV and music rehearsals.

“As both owner and operator of YTL Arena Bristol, our ambition has always been to create a vibrant and unique mix of bars and lounges in our design which showcase the very best of Bristol. That is why we have been working with Bristol based interior designers Studio B.”

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The YTL Arena Bristol will have capacity for 19,000 peopleThe YTL Arena Bristol will have capacity for 19,000 people
The YTL Arena Bristol will have capacity for 19,000 people | YTL

Kyle Clarke, founder of Studio B, said: “The highlight of our year was winning the YTL Arena work. Since we received the instruction, we’ve been completely consumed with designing selected spaces within the arena to completely blow the customer experience through the roof.

“There isn’t another arena in the country that will come close. Huge hats off to the YTL Arena team for working with our relatively small, young, ambitious Bristol studio.

“Together, we’ve got exciting plans to bring in other local artists and small businesses, harnessing Bristol’s endless skill and talent to ensure the arena feels proudly part of the city.”

In October 2022, YTL Developments received planning consent to build Brabazon Park, the largest new urban public park in the South West for over 50 years and the front door to YTL Arena.

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Equivalent in size to Bristol’s Castle Park, this new landmark public space will span 15 acres, including a 2.5 acre lake surrounded by a floating boardwalk. There will be mature trees, lakeside coffee spots and outdoor exercise areas for adults, and an adventure playground for kids.

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