Liverpool Kings Dock set for 2008 opening

Work has started on the Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre, a £150m project in the city’s Kings Dock waterfront area, due for completion in 2008. The venue will be headed by new chief executive and former NEC Birmingham managing director Bob Prattey. "This venue puts us in a different league," he said. "We haven’t had a purpose-built centre before so we’ve been turning away major events business." The new venue will hold 9,400 in the arena, 1,300 in the conference hall and will also offer 7,600m2 of exhibition space. It is expected that it will bring in 165 events a year, equating to 127,000 delegates. Prattey added that since work started he had already been fielding enquiries. "They’ve come mainly from associations, which generally need long lead-in times," he said. The centre’s opening in 2008 was also an advantage. "I want to make sure that we capitalise fully on the city’s status as European Capital of Culture and that we play a major role in the celebrations," added Prattey. The development will add weight to growing interest in Merseyside as a conference destination. The region was revealed as the second-fastest growing destination of choice by UK conference buyers in last month’s UK Conference Market Survey 2005.

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