Sheffield’s Owlerton Greyhound Stadium has submitted plans for a £5m banqueting suite, which will become one of the largest entertaining and conference spaces in the city and create up to 200 jobs.
The significant investment by stadium owners A & S Leisure Group Ltd. is part of a company restructuring, which will also see a new casino being built in Manchester at the China Town end of Portland Street.
Work is set to start on the 500-capacity banqueting suite in early June and it is expected to open by Easter 2019. Sheffield-based WMA Architects have been commissioned for the project.
Owlerton managing director John Gilburn said: “This is an important development in the long history of Owlerton Greyhound Stadium and it will provide us with the most modern banqueting and conference facilities in the city.
“For some time, Sheffield has lacked a venue with the flexibility that this will provide. This will give us the ability to host weddings, conferences, large banquets, indoor sporting events and concerts.
“We believe that the new development will prove very popular both on our Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night race nights as well as during the working week.”
The banqueting suite will be built on the site of the Hare and Hounds bar with the terraced area at the finish line end of the track also making way for the new development.
John said: “The way it has been designed will allow for the top floor suite to be open for 500 guests or split into rooms of 250, 150 and 100 people capacities providing fantastic views across the track.
“On the same level will be five brand new executive boxes which will cater for 20 people per box. These, too, can be made into one large executive box for 100 guests. Our existing executive boxes will remain in place until the new development is open and a new entrance will be in place until building work is completed.”
A & S Leisure Group recently closed the iconic Napoleons casino on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield and also sold the Napoleons Casino in Leicester Square, London. However, chairman Dave Allen says the investment at Owlerton Stadium demonstrates his company’s commitment to the city.
He said: “It was a tough decision to close Napoleons, Ecclesall Road, after 42 years of business but the world moves on. I believe this investment in Owlerton Stadium is game-changing for Sheffield’s banqueting facilities and will enable us to concentrate on our provincial operations.
“We already have a tremendous reputation for hospitality at the stadium and this multi-million-pound development will only add to that. I am very excited about the future for both Owlerton and the Napoleons casino we operate adjacent to the stadium.
“John and the team at Owlerton Stadium have worked hard on the plans for the new banqueting suite and I can’t wait for it to open next Easter.”
Kelvin Fallow from WMA Architects said: “It is great to be involved with this project. Owlerton Stadium is an iconic venue for many people across our region so we’re determined to design a banqueting suite which provides the flexibility required for the many different forms of entertainment that the stadium wants to offer in this new building.”
Race nights at the stadium take place every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening, during the day on Mondays and Thursdays and selected Sundays and bank holidays.
Currently the stadium operates four trackside bars – including the popular Paddock Bar which leads directly on to the trackside terracing to experience the real buzz of greyhound racing and the Panorama Bar, which has one of the best views of the finish line.
The Panorama Bar is next to the critically-acclaimed, 300-cover, glass-fronted Panorama Restaurant where diners enjoy a seasonal menu prepared by highly experienced chefs in Sheffield’s largest restaurant.