Derby’s New Performance Venue Starts To Take Shape

Derby’s new £45.8 entertainment and conference venue has reached another milestone as the auditorium starts to take shape.

Just five months after main contractors Bowmer + Kirkland moved on site, the steelwork alongside rows of concrete steps which will become a tiered seating area is clearly visible.

An overhead steel gantry containing 200 tonnes of steelwork for lighting and other technical equipment is also being constructed.

Councillor Nadine Peatfield, Cabinet Member for City Centre, Regeneration, Culture and Tourism at Derby City Council said:

"It's thrilling to see the building being built from the ‘inside out’ with the seating area being installed before the walls. It's amazing to think this time next year the venue will be almost complete and getting ready to open.

“This new and flexible space is a key part of putting culture back into the heart of Derby.

"The progress of the scheme so far is giving the city a real buzz and we are already talking to business and shop owners in the area to discuss how they will handle the increased footfall that the venue will bring."

In the coming weeks, additional steel beams will be fitted to create the roof, ready for the concrete pour in early 2024. This will be followed by a layer of insulation, plasterboard and quilting to ensure the building is soundproofed.

The finished building will contain 1,200 tonnes of steel. Heavy machinery is helping the 10 operatives responsible for fixing the steel into place. The heaviest single piece weighs 3.5 tonnes and the longest single span of steel is 12.9 metres.

Bowmer +Kirkland Contracts Manager, Stephen Green said:

“This is an exciting milestone as the purpose of the building is now starting to reveal itself.

“Despite the recent inclement weather, construction is on programme and we are delighted to be working with all our project partners to bring such an exciting development to Derby and the wider region.”

Paul Morris, Development Director at St James Securities, added:

“It’s great to see the new entertainment venue taking shape in front of our eyes. This fantastic venue will offer a larger, more flexible space than Derby has had in the past and will collaborate with and complement the activities of Derby Arena to provide the best possible events programme for Derby and the wider region.”

Set to host over 200 cultural and commercial events each year, the venue is expected to attract an additional 250,000 visitors to Derby, create over 200 new local jobs, and increase levels of investment in surrounding areas of the city centre.

The venue will be owned by Derby City Council and leased to and operated by ASM Global, a leading venue management company, whose UK portfolio includes OVO Arena Wembley, AO Arena (Manchester), and Olympia and OVO Hydro (Glasgow). 

Practical completion and handover are scheduled for the first quarter of 2025, just a couple of weeks later than was originally planned when contracts were signed in March 2022.

The exciting new 3,500 capacity venue forms the second phase of the £200m Becketwell regeneration scheme, the most significant urban rejuvenation project for more than three decades.

Phase one includes The Condor, the city’s first purpose-built Build to Rent scheme, which is now open, owned and operated by Grainger plc, along with Springwell Square, a new public square for the city, which officially opened in September.

The scheme is being developed by St James Securities, a privately-owned Leeds-based property developer, with a track record of delivering successful major regeneration schemes.

Future planned phases of the scheme include the potential for a range of other complementary uses of the site including a hotel, further residential accommodation, and purpose-built student residential.