AMG Gets New Birmingham Venue

Academy Music Group is buying the old Dome nightclub in Birmingham and will spend £4 million to refurbish it. Meanwhile, the venue the company already runs in the city is expected to keep trading at least until the new one opens.

Both the Dome and the existing Carling Academy are on the Eastside Parks site, which includes Dale End, an area the city council intends to substantially redevelop to include a mixture of retail, leisure, office and residential spaces. Work is expected to start in 2009.

"We’ve known of the proposed development at Dale End for a number of years and have been actively looking for a new venue for some time," AMG chief exec John Northcote explained.

"The site of the former Dome nightclub ticks all our boxes. It’s a landmark building in a city centre location, it’s the right size and space to develop our strategy of a multi-room format and we can really push the boundaries to create Birmingham’s very best concert venue.

"Birmingham is very important to the group, as it was the first city I chose outside of London some eight years ago to expand our Academy brand," Northcote added. "From the off, it was a real success and without a doubt is our busiest venue in the estate and it marked a true footprint for the rollout of Academy venues nationwide."

AMG, which is owned by Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments, Live Nation, and promoters SJM Concerts and Metropolis Music, already claims London venues including Brixton Academy, Shepherds Bush Empire, Islington Academy and provincial venues in Oxford, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.

The company is planning to open new rooms in Brighton and Leeds by the end of the year.

AMG has been granted a license for an overall capacity of 3,836 at The Dome, a 45,000-squarefoot, purpose-built 1970s nightclub that’s been closed for many years. Further details of the development programme will be announced shortly.

Birmingham has welcomed major regeneration in recent years, including the Bullring Shopping Centre. In 2006, Birmingham City Council granted planning consent to Martineau Galleries for the £600 million Eastside Parks development.

In February 2007, AMG increased the maximum capacity of Carling Academy Birmingham from 2,700 to 3,000. It hosts about 250 shows and 120 club nights each year. In 2006 it attracted about 600,000 people to its various events.