£20 million NIA refurbishment

The Birmingham Post has reported on Birmingham's National Indoor Arena to get £20m makeover with announcement of plans to improve the exterior and concourse in the first modernisation since it opened 20 years ago.

The arena which opened in 1991 has an all seated capacity of 12,802 which can increase upto 14,150 when including proportional floor standing or reduce to smaller attendances depending on the arrangement. While the NIA still attracts regular performances it's age and the recent refurbishment of the NEC arena renamed the LG Arena, NEC heads LG, together with increased competition in attracting performances nationally and from international arenas means the NIA faces the need for a refurbishment.

The NIA supports 2,500 full time equivalent jobs directly and indirectly and delivers £150m of direct and indirect economic benefit to the region each year.

The refurbishment is aimed at making the NIA more accessible physically and visually, making use of it's canalside location with the possibibility of a new entrance overlooking the canal at Brindleyplace highlighting the arrival at the arena.

The Full Business Case report going to Birmingham City Counci's cabinet on the 17th October notes:

Through the mechanism and driver of the Big City Plan, Birmingham is re-generating its core and surrounding areas. The refurbishment of the NIA will undoubtedly play a fundamental part in securing this aspirational vision; providing a cruciform link between Broad Street and the canal aspect leading towards the Mailbox and the recently developed Cube. Furthermore it will clearly identify the building across the sky scape. The existing facade and approaches to the NIA make it relatively unwelcoming and isolate it from the surrounding area, and the architecture is very uninspiring. Through the new external facade on the Brindley Place side of the NIA and re-worked approaches and public realm the proposed scheme integrates the building within its surroundings and delivers another substantive and impressive architectural component of the western part of the city centre, to complement the new Library of Birmingham together with the ICC and Brindley Place. http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/democracy/Pages/GetDoc.aspx?DocumentID%3dYqY%252fxZywbg0%253d%26MimeType%3dapplication%2fpdf%26DocName%3dAppendix+1+to+public+report+word.pdf

Building work is expected to start at the end of 2012 with the proposed scheme seeing a the creation of an enhanced, multi-level circulation space; offering a substantially glazed vista and connective approach onto the aspect of the canal.
The refurbishment of the existing public areas will tie into the new build facade.

The scheme should see circa 7500m2 of refurbishment space and 6000m2 of new build with the intention to also increase the seating capacity by 550, as well as an uplift of 800 in respect of standing capacity to the arena floor.

The redevelopment also aims for circa 1,500 square metres of retail space for external lettings likely aimed toward food and beverage operators.

Depending on the funding of the scheme the treatment of the external elevation running parallel to King Edwards Road will be looked at. The feasibility study into the refurbishment of the NIA did not include this elevation but it is an aim to be addressed.

Work could begin at the end of 2012 subject to the design and tenders with the construction work taking approximately 18 months.

Indicative images of what the refurbishment might look like are shown below from the report going to the City Cabinet on the 17th October.


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