Bristol Arena: Private company to run and share profits

Artist's impression of the Bristol Arena If funding is agreed in the new year, work could start on site in early 2016

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A company will run Bristol Arena and share some profits with the council, the city's cabinet has agreed.

Councillors agreed to go out to tender to look for a company to run the arena rather than the council running it.

The project team can now prepare the contract documents needed for operator procurement to begin in March 2014.

This will be followed by a competition to design the new venue, and building contractor procurement. The arena is due to open in June 2017.

The 12,000 capacity venue would be located in the heart of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

The arena will be leased to a company that will pay a fixed annual rental, taking the risk on the level of income generated and sharing profits with the council above an agreed amount.

'Element of control'

The operator would programme and maintain the venue with the council having to negotiate any input into the programme.

Bristol mayor George Ferguson said: "This is a vitally important decision for the arena, setting out the best way to make it a reality and ensuring it is run in the most cost effective and suitable manner for the city.

"I want to ensure an element of city control over the arena, but it would be unwise for us to take on the full running of the facility and the risks that brings.

"Instead, I'll be considering ways for it to be run by an experienced, professional operator to make the most of the arena and the opportunities it brings.

"Without revealing too much at this stage, we've had considerable informal interest following the business study, which is extremely encouraging in terms of getting the right operator and best value."

A full report will go to cabinet on 16 January outlining the funding arrangements for the arena before going to a full council decision as part of the council's budget on 18 February.

Neighbouring councils have already agreed to help solve a £27m funding shortfall in the £90m proposal.

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