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Seoul Arena gets revised opening date after delay

The scheme, which will help tackle the dearth of concert venues in Korea, was originally forecast to launch in 2025

By James Hanley on 04 Jul 2024

Seoul Arena, Dobong district

A rendering of Seoul Arena


A long-awaited arena development to help Korea capitalise on the K-pop explosion has been given a revised opening date after the project was paused.

Seoul Arena was originally expected to be completed in October next year, but is now targeted for 2027.

The Korea Times reports that work began in November 2023, but IT giant Kakao, which is partnering with the Seoul city government on the venue in the South Korean capital’s northern Dobong district, temporarily halted construction, blaming rising costs.

But the scheme appears to be back on track after a groundbreaking ceremony, originally planned for December, was held this week, attended by dozens of local dignitaries.

“Seoul Arena will become a landmark of Seoul’s northeastern region,” says the city’s mayor Oh Se-hoon.

“Kakao will strive to create spaces and programmes where global K-pop fans can experience not only music but also diverse K-culture and content”

The complex will include an 18,269-seat arena, plus a 2,010-seat performance hall, and is expected to draw 2.5 million tourists a year to the city.

“Kakao will strive to create spaces and programmes where global K-pop fans can experience not only music but also diverse K-culture and content,” adds Kakao CEO Chung Shin-a.

Despite the worldwide growth of K-pop, the country of its birth has been unable to satisfy demand due to a lack of venues, with Seoul Arena set to become South Korea’s first arena dedicated to staging pop concerts.

Meanwhile, a second Korean arena scheme, the AEG-backed 20,000-cap CJ LiveCity Arena, slated to open in Seoul’s Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province, in 2024, has reportedly hit the rocks.

Goyang city government recently ended its agreement with CJ LiveCity — a subsidiary of media conglomerate CJ ENM — after the company halted construction in the spring of 2023 due to funding issues. Gyeonggi Province says it will “pursue business with a new vision and method”.

 


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