The new Centre will be complemented by the UK’s first light, water and sound show in the town’s Marine Lake.
A report published today (Tuesday, August 23) to Sefton Council’s Cabinet will ask members to approve the lease agreement between the local authority and ASM Global, as well as seeking approval to borrow £19.7m of funding to be added to contributions from the Town Deal (£31.7m) and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (£17.7m) towards the project.
This vital stage in the Marine Lake Events Centre (MLEC) and Water & Lights Show project follows a series of landmarks for the scheme – most recently the submission of a detailed planning application and comprehensive business case.
Investigatory works on the existing Southport Theatre and Convention Centre site and the Upper Promenade, have also started to allow for an assessment of the land’s underground conditions to progress the design further.
Marine Lake Events Centre joins ASM Global’s network of more than 350 venues around the world, which host 20,000 events, and welcome 165 million guests every year.
ASM Global has been identified by the local authority as the recommended partner to manage, operate and programme the new entertainment and conference venue along with The Water and Light Show in the resort.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “By awarding preferred bidder status to ASM Global we are once again showing our ambition, determination and passion towards delivering the incredible MLEC project.
“We are doing everything to ensure the end goal is a fully flexible, scalable cultural space capable of staging concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences, exhibitions that is the envy of other towns and cities.
“ASM Global operate 350 venues across five continents and share in the ambitions of Sefton Council and the Southport Town Deal in making MLEC a soaring success. Our borough, our town and the council will benefit from the wealth of experience and knowledge the team at ASM Global can bring to the table.
“Within the UK they operate 12 venues ranging from a 600-capacity seaside theatre in Whitley Bay to the 40,000 sqm exhibition centre of Olympia London and AO Arena in Manchester.
“The MLEC, together with the Light Fantastic, is forecast to attract more than half a million visitors to Southport year on year and generating an annual £18 million for the local economy and I am delighted that Sefton Council is once again leading the way in exciting projects like this.”
ASM European Executive Vice President, Chris Bray comments: ”ASM Global is delighted to partner with Sefton Council to deliver the Marine Lake Events Centre and welcome the venue into the ASM Global family. Southport has a rich history of events and culture and we are pleased to engage in this long-term partnership and what’s set to be a visionary and game-changing project for Southport and the Sefton region”
“The combination of a high quality, flexible venue and the Light Fantastic is a unique offer, in a stunning location, which will create an outstanding leisure, events and cultural destination for both residents and visitors. There has already been excellent progress in securing funding, developing the initial designs and submitting the planning application, and we are excited to now join the project team and share our wealth of experience of designing, developing and relaunching venues.”
“We look forward to delivering a busy concert and entertainment programme alongside a wide range of conference and business events that will provide a great meeting place and platform for the region.”
Nick Russell, Director at consultancy firm IPW said: “The Marine Lake Events Centre will create a cornerstone to the regeneration of Southport calling upon the former successes in both entertainment and conferencing in the town to create a new hub for business, theatre and events. During a very competitive process our team has selected ASM Global as the preferred operator for the project. Their worldwide experience will ensure the operating success of the venue as they have done in many venues across the country.
“We look forward to working with them to finalise the scheme and secure MLECs development for the town and the city region.”
The cabinet report also confirmed that Sefton Council is in ongoing discussions with a number of public sources such as Arts Council England, aiming to identify additional funding streams to support the project.
As part of the local authority’s robust assessment of capital costs for the project, £19.7m of funding will need to allocated to the MLEC project, which will currently be contributed by Sefton Council.