Diggers moved onto the city centre building site of the Leeds Arena yesterday.
Their arrival signals a landmark in the creation of the 13,500-seat capacity concert venue as the scheme in Leeds city centre moves off the drawing board and onto the site. It is due to open its doors in early 2013.
MP Hilary Benn was one of the guests invited to mark the start of earthworks on the site which are expected to take around 12 weeks. Building work will then pick up pace dramatically from May 2011.
Coun Richard Lewis, the Leeds City Council executive member responsible for city development, said: “This is a very exciting phase of what is a hugely important £60m construction project for Leeds. The arena will bring an additional one million visitors to the city, add around £25.5m per year to the city’s economy and create around 450 construction jobs, as well as a number of apprenticeship and work experience opportunities.
“I cannot overestimate the part it will play in helping this city’s economy to continue to grow and attract investment and jobs.
“I am delighted to say that we are now seeing owners of neighbouring buildings bringing forward detailed investment and development proposals, all of which will help regenerate the area and create jobs.”