The iconic Brabazon hangars are housed within a 352m-long and 35m-tall building across 26 acres and they have been a part of Bristol's heritage since the 1940s.
The building has an enclosed volume of some one million cubic metres divided up into three separate but interlinked aircraft hangars.
Built in 1946 for the construction of the Brabazon airliner, the building later became the birthplace of Concorde. In 2003, the final Concorde to fly traveled from Heathrow to Filton.
Filton airfield closed to commercial flights in December 2012. It was at a standstill until YTL Power International took over the 380-acre site in 2015 to develop Brabazon, a new urban community, with over 2,600 homes, creative workplaces and a vibrant town centre set amongst public squares and parks.
Hong, one of seven children of YTL founder Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay, who built the group from a humble construction firm in 1955 to an international outfit with interests in power, water, rail, cement, construction, communication, property development and hotels said that planning approval to deliver the first 278 new homes at Brabazon was awarded in March 2019.
YTL Developments aims to deliver a “world class venue for Bristol” which could rival London’s O2 Arena and Birmingham’s NEC in terms of restaurants, concessions, clubs and bars.
The plan includes transforming the central hanger, also known as YTL Arena, into a 17,000-seater multi-purpose, flexible and unique arena auditorium, allowing Bristol to host full capacity live music shows, sporting events, family entertainment and comedy shows. The central hanger alone can fit the entire O2 Arena, which is currently the largest indoor entertainment arena in the United Kingdom.
The east hangar will be transformed into 'Festival Hall,' a break-out area for the main arena show which could also be used for trade shows, exhibitions, conventions and other events.
The west hangar, called 'The Hub', will be opened throughout the year offering a place to eat, work and play, with leisure facilities, and space for start-up businesses.
“We’re building much more than just an arena. It is a 365-day entertainment destination inside the iconic Brabazon Hangars that will create new jobs, bring new business to the region and enhance Bristol’s position as a leading European city. We'll put Bristol on the world map with this massive entertainment complex," Yeoh told NST Property during a visit to the former Filton airfield, in October.
YTL Developments has pledged to include zero waste to landfill, harvest rainwater and install solar panels on the vast roof area, with more than 18,600 tonnes of carbon emissions saving.
The site will also boast a new train station that will connect to Bristol Temple Meads in less than 15 minutes and a frequently scheduled dedicated bus service to the city centre.
"We will breathe new life into the historic Brabazon Hangars, transforming them into an exciting, vibrant destination open all year round, offering a range of entertainment events, and creating a new place to eat, work and play. Visitors to the arena will experience more than a show, with vibrant food and drink areas,
lounges and bars. We will have live pre-show entertainment on our community stage, showcasing local talent. We will take live music and entertainment into the community to inspire and engage the next generation," said Yeoh.
“Within the Brabazon Hangers, we have a unique and amazing opportunity to create something special that will greatly benefit the community. We have a tradition in our company that for every investment we do, we will host a concert of celebration. Moreover, it completely complements our wider development project, Brabazon, which will become an extension of the Bristol city centre. Our development will become an internationally recognised entertainment district, similar to the Greenwich peninsula that houses the O2 Arena in London," said Yeoh.
It is estimated that the new entertainment destination will attract more than 1.4 million visitors annually.