THE Leeds Arena is beginning to take shape.
Foundations have been laid, the structure is going up and its starting to look like a venue that will play host to a capacity audience of 13,500.
Gordon Alexander, construction manager for BAM, the company building the arena, said: “I haven’t worked on anything like this before and won’t again.
“It is brilliant for the people of Leeds to have a venue like this on their doorstep.”
The first part of construction work at the £60m arena’s Clay Pit Lane home got under way earlier this year.
Experts estimate the project will create more than 450 jobs and generate £25m a year for the Leeds economy.
The regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, is contributing £10m to the cost of the scheme, with the remainder coming from Leeds City Council.
The long-awaited 13,500 seat entertainment venue, which is costing £60m, is expected to attract one million visitors a year when it finally opens its doors next year.
While many building projects have stalled in the city in recent years, the new addition to the skyline has provided a much- needed boost to the region’s construction industry.
Mr Alexander, who lives in Wakefield, said it was nice to have a hand in such a major project so close to home.
“The roof will be the size of a football pitch and there are around 100,000 green shingles that will be go on the outside of the arena,” he added
Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for city development said: “The arena project is one of the most exciting developments we have seen in Leeds for a long time.
“It’s an imaginative building which will attract visitors in their thousands every week from all over the country and is already leading to the regeneration a whole area of the city.
“It’s fantastic to see the building take shape before our eyes,” he added.