The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has rejected plans to build the 21,000-capacity Las Vegas-style MSG Sphere in Stratford, East London.
The proposed venue, similar to the Las Vegas Sphere which was recently opened by U2’s residency, would have sat just four miles from AEG’s O2 Arena (cap. 21,000).
The decision has been welcomed by AEG, which previously pushed political leaders to derail the project following a green light from the London Legacy Development Corporation’s Planning Decisions Committee (LLDCPDC).
AEG Europe executive VP of real estate and development Alistair Wood said, “We do not oppose competition in the live entertainment industry, and specifically do not oppose another large music venue in London. However, this proposal had fundamental flaws from the beginning. It was the wrong design, in the wrong location, and this was the right call.”
MSG Entertainment previously submitted a planning application to the LLDC to transform a site in Stratford. The New York-based company had purchased a 4.7-acre site which has been left empty since it was last used as a temporary coach park during the London 2012 Olympics.
MSG said the Sphere would generate 4,300 jobs during construction, and more than 1,000 full-time jobs. The venue was designed by Populous, the architecture firm behind Wembley Stadium. Plans included the arena having a programmable exterior ‘skin’ of LED displays. The 360-degree advertising proposal was met with the most substantial objections.
The proposed project was met with considerable resistance from Newham Council, neighbouring east London boroughs, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the local MP, rail operators, Transport for London, Historic England, and residents.
A spokesperson from Sphere Entertainment said, “While we are disappointed in London’s decision, there are many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities. We will concentrate on those.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said, “London is open to investment from around the world and Sadiq wants to see more world-class, ambitious, innovative entertainment venues in our city.“But as part of looking at the planning application for the MSG Sphere, the Mayor has seen independent evidence that shows the current proposals would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents.”