Copenhagen’s Second Try For Arena

It’s nearly two years since AEG failed to come up with the estimated $225 million it needed to develop a new arena in Copenhagen, but the Danish capital hasn’t given up on the project.

After hiring London-based global construction consultants Davis Langdon to look at the possibilities of building a multipurpose arena, Copenhagen Council head of culture and leisure Carsten Haurum has already opened a new two-stage tendering process to decide who will operate it.

He’s called all interested parties to a meeting at Copenhagen Realdania April 19, when the local industry will be able to voice its opinion on the city’s latest plans for a new venue at Ørestad, about 4 miles south of the city centre and conveniently close to the airport.

The issue appears to hinge on how much local support exists for the idea, largely because in 2009 – after being named the preferred bidder – AEG failed to attract enough regional money to get beyond halfway to the $225 million needed.

But the fact the council started looking for a venue operator April 5 suggests that the Davis Langdon study it commissioned with redevelopment agency Realdania and the Copenhagen’s City & Port Development organisation leads all parties to believe the money could be there this time.

One of the main problems in 2009 was the cost of the actual build, and Davis Langdon’s figures appear to have convinced Copenhagen that the building will pay.

AEG European vice president of facilities Brian Kabatznick, who fronted the company’s 2009 bid, says he’s not going to comment on the tendering process or confirm if he’s attending the meeting.

However, having won the right to run the building that was never built in 2009, it seems unlikely it won’t try to win again.

The council expects the tendering process to be completed by the end of the year.

The new building will also have to compete with Malmö Arena (or Hyllie Arena), the 15,500-capacity venue opened at the end of 2008. It’s across the border in Sweden but only 40-minutes away by car or train, arguably less time than it can take to cross London.

The new 14,000-capacity MCH Multiarena opened in Herning last October, the local competition, is more than three hours away.