NIA Looks At Refurb Costs

After spending £29 million doing up Birmingham’s LG Arena, the NEC Group is now looking at the cost of doing a similar job on the National Indoor Arena.

NEC Group has started a feasibility study to develop the concept design and appoint an architect for the project. It is hopeful of working out a budget in time for the work to start next summer.

As with the LG Arena improvements, which were largely funded by a loan from Birmingham City Council and a grant from Advantage West Midlands, the NEC Group hopes a fully refurbished NIA Arena will tempt a major naming rights sponsor.

The old NEC Arena was re-branded as the LG Arena in September 2008, when the global electronics firm pumped in an undisclosed fee for the naming rights.

The NEC Group recently announced it’s looking for a naming rights partner for the NIA and it’s actively pursuing leading brand names and other business partners.

NEC Group managing director of arenas Phil Mead says the NIA is renowned for hosting world class events and the feasibility study and the appointment of an architect are the first steps toward also making it world class for customer experience.

“Last year we launched the brand new LG Arena to critical acclaim from pop stars and concertgoers. We are now taking the first steps to propelling the NIA to the top of the UK’s premier arenas by finding an architect who can make our hopes and dreams into a reality,” he explained.

The improvements to the 20-year-old 13,000-capacity venue will likely include enhanced entrance points, hospitality areas and toilets, and improving the customer’s pre and post show experience by providing more options for food, beverage and merchandising.

The feasibility study will also look at the possibility of developing a new canal-side catering area.