Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 17:08 UK

Leeds arena moves one step closer

Millennium Square Leeds
Gigs are often held in Millennium Square in the absence of an arena

Plans to build an arena in Leeds have moved one step closer with city council leaders choosing a preferred operator.

SMG, one of the world's biggest arena operators, will run what is expected to be a 12,500-seat indoor concert venue.

Leeds is the only major northern city not to have an arena, and the council estimates the venue will contribute 28m a year to the local economy.

Some of the cost will be met with money from the sale of Leeds Bradford Airport. No site has yet been chosen.

SMG also runs the MEN arena in Manchester, the Metro Radio arena in Newcastle and the Odyssey in Belfast.

SMG Europe managing director John Sutherland said: "The arena is long overdue and will be an important centrepiece for the city and region on many levels.

"This state of the art venue will enhance the reputation and stature of Leeds as a modern and vibrant city with facilities which attract the top performers from around the world."

Leeds Bradford Airport was sold to Bridgepoint Capital in April 2007 in a 145.5m deal after councils in Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield agreed to sell their stakes.

City to benefit from airport sale
29 Jul 07 |  West Yorkshire

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