SBD/October 11, 2012/Facilities

Negotiations Around London's Olympic Stadium Future May Go Past Deadline

EPL club West Ham United hopes to become the tenants at Olympic Stadium
The future of London's Olympic Stadium "may not be resolved by the original deadline of the end of the month," according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. EPL club West Ham United owners are "keen to become the main tenants of the stadium" in time to begin the '14-15 season but are "embroiled in tense negotiations" with the London Legacy Development Corp. The two parties continue to discuss "modifications to be made to the stadium at a cost of up to [US$256M] and who will pay for them." The LLDC BOD "remains split on whether the solution should include West Ham or not." LLDC interim CEO Dennis Hone said that talks were "entering the 'end game' ahead of a crucial board meeting next week, but there was no 'knockout' bid." He said that the arguments “for and against football and the changes demanded by West Ham remained finely balanced.” Hone: "If we can't come to a conclusion, in the scheme of things if it slips another month or two I'd rather get the right solution.” Gibson noted some at City Hall believe with the stadium having “proved its worth as a concert and sporting venue during the Olympics, the LLDC should press on without football." Others believe that West Ham still offers "the most sustainable long-term solution while wanting to ensure that the deal is beneficial to taxpayers." A decision on the stadium could be “pushed back as far as December if no agreement is reached at this month's board meeting.” If the timetable “slips much further, there are fears” West Ham would “struggle to make the move in time for the start of the 2014-15 season” (GUARDIAN, 10/10).
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