Co-op Live finally opens after construction issues

Manchester arena operational after series of system failures

Manchester’s Co-op Live arena has finally opened after a series of teething troubles, the latest of which was the collapse of a ventilation duct from the venue’s ceiling.

Mercury Prize-winners Elbow played the first concert at the troubled venue on 14 May. The band’s gig marked the fourth attempt to open Co-op Live since 23 April, when two shows by the comedian Peter Kay had to be cancelled because of unfinished construction work and concerns from Greater Manchester Police about the building’s safety systems.

The third attempt to open the venue, on 1 May, was cancelled after one of 95 pre-manufactured filters that form part of Co-op Live’s air conditioning system fell from the ceiling to the floor of the auditorium’s standing area.

The incident occurred shortly before the doors were due to open for a concert by A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, after the US rapper had completed his soundcheck.

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of the arena’s operator, Oak View Group (OVG), told the BBC that the fixing bolts were missing.

‘It wasn’t visible to the eye and it fell out,’ he said, adding that, since the incident, thousands of bolts in the ceiling had been ‘double checked and triple checked’.

The Co-op Live arena is a joint venture between OVG and Manchester City Football Club, whose Etihad Stadium is located next to the new venue.

In a separate interview with the Financial Times, Leiweke blamed post-Brexit shortages of workers for the scheme’s wider construction delays. The postponed opening led to cancellations by a host of artists, including Take That and Olivia Rodrigo.