Leeds arena nets Wembley design team

THEY'VE already worked their magic on legendary venues like Wembley Stadium and Wimbledon's Centre Court.

Now top architectural consultants Populous have another big project to handle – Leeds's new concert arena.

City council bosses today announced the team which will design the 12,500-seater facility.

The team is being headed up by award-winning building and technical services consultancy Jacobs.

And its staff will receive expert advice from Populous, formerly known as HOK Sport Architecture.

Populous's highest-profile design projects to date include:

the new Wembley Stadium, the home of English football;

the new sliding roof at Wimbledon's Centre Court;

Arsenal's stunning 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium;

transforming the Millennium Dome into the O2 arena.

John Barrow, senior principal with Populous, said: "I am delighted that we have been selected to partner with Jacobs.

"The arena will be unique in the UK, with a 'super-theatre' concept to accommodate up to 12,500 spectators with every seat the best in the house.

"We are proud to be part of Leeds's exciting vision for the future."

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Jacobs is already working with the council on a number of flagship projects, including the refurbishment of the City Varieties Music Hall and the construction of new headquarters for the Northern Ballet Theatre.

Jacobs director Nigel Hall said: "We have assembled a highly-experienced team capable of delivering a venue to rival any arena of this size worldwide.

"Our key objective will be to provide a lasting legacy for the city."

Council leader Coun Andrew Carter said he was "delighted" by the calibre of the design group.

Demolition work began earlier this month on a building which occupies part of the Clay Pit Lane site earmarked for the arena.

The local authority is hoping to submit an outline bid for planning permission for the venue by September.

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