SBD/October 12, 2011/Facilities

West Ham United Plans To Resubmit Bid For Olympic Stadium

City officials are confident West Ham can buy the stadium out of public ownership
EPL club West Ham United “could still end up owning” the $764.5M (all figures U.S.) Olympic Stadium following the '12 Games despite the U.K. government’s announcement yesterday that "the deal for the club to buy it had collapsed,” according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. West Ham confirmed that “they would resubmit a bid" to become tenants of the stadium. London Mayor Boris Johnson said that "West Ham would ‘almost certainly’ succeed in the fresh bidding process that should be complete by January.” However, U.K. Minister for Sport & Olympics Hugh Robertson suggested that West Ham “could ultimately buy the stadium out of public ownership.” One business model being considered is for the local borough authority, the Newham Council, “to inject [$62.9M] into a special purchase vehicle (SPV) jointly owned" with Greater London's Mayoral Development Corporation. The SPV would "own the 60,000-seat stadium and various lease agreements with football, athletics, concert promoters and perhaps cricket.” This would “eliminate any question of state aid" and still allow the venue to be controlled by a government entity, which could "earn money from its operation and potentially sell it off to make a return for the taxpayer.” This “‘best value’ option would require the London taxpayer" to meet a $31.5M funding gap to "reduce the capacity from 80,000 seats and upgrade it for professional football.” This sum “was previously to have been paid by West Ham.” The new upfront cost to the taxpayer “will fuel critics of the decision to retain the running track after the Games," a promise made to to IOC by LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe when London was awarded the '12 Olympics (LONDON TIMES, 10/12).

QUESTIONING AUTHORITY
: In London, Hope & Kelso report LOCOG officials involved “in the collapse of the London 2012 Stadium deal will be questioned before Parliament to explain their use of public money.” Olympic Park Legacy CEO Andrew Altman “is among the officials who will be called before the influential Public Accounts Committee on Dec. 14.” Others who will be questioned are Olympic Development Authority CEO Dennis Hone, LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton and U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport Permanent Secretary Jonathan Stephens (London TELEGRAPH, 10/12).

MORE LONDON CONSTRUCTION
: REUTERS’ Mike Collett cited EPL club Fulham execs as saying that the club plans “to increase the capacity at their picturesque Craven Cottage from 25,700 to 30,000.” Fulham has played at the venue “since 1896.” Last week EPL club Chelsea, “who play at Stamford Bridge, two kilometers from Craven Cottage, said they were looking at options to move from the ground which has been their home since they were formed in 1905” (REUTERS, 10/9).
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