Bristol Arena operator bidders given three weeks to apply

Artist's impression of the Bristol Arena Image copyright Bristol City Council
Image caption Bristol Arena, a 12,000-seat music venue, will be located in the heart of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone

Bidders have three weeks to submit applications to become operators of a £91m entertainment arena in Bristol.

Bristol Arena, a 12,000-seat music venue, will be located at the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

The arena is part of the city's plan to regenerate about 70 hectares (170 acres) surrounding Bristol Temple Meads station and is due to open in 2017.

Bristol City Council aims to appoint an operator by November, with the contract running for at least 25 years.

Interested parties have until 6 June to submit a pre-qualification questionnaire.

The winning bidder will be involved in the design of the arena and in charge of operating, maintaining and managing it for the duration of the lease.

'Largest untapped market'

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said there had been "tremendous interest" in the project from potential operators.

"Bristol is the seventh largest city in England and it is considered as having the largest untapped market for an arena in the UK," he said.

"This is a vital project for Bristol's cultural offer and regional economy."

West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will contribute £53m towards the cost of building the arena, with the remaining £38m funded by Bristol City Council.

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