SBD/November 8, 2012/Facilities

LLDC CEO Hone Says London Olympic Stadium Reopening By '14 "Completely Out"

Olympic Stadium's reopening would be August '15 at the earliest
London Olympic Park officials warned that the Olympic Stadium “may not be ready” for EPL club West Ham United or any other tenant “until the start of the 2016/17 season,” according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. The London Legacy Development Corporation is “still deciding whether to accept” any of the four bidders “seeking a 99-year lease on the [US$799M] stadium, some of which requires substantial modifications, including providing a roof to cover all of the seating, and possible retractable seating.” LLDC CEO Dennis Hone told the London Assembly that there have been “no formal bids from an NFL American football franchise, although the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and others had held ‘encouraging’ talks about stadium management with NFL executives.” Although soccer was “still among the front-runners to take up tenancy of the venue, Hone insisted a 2014 reopening was out of the question.” Hone said that if “none of the current bidders were accepted, with a decision expected in the first half of next year, the promise to the International Association of Athletics Federations for covered seating during the hosting of the 2017 World Athletics Championships may have to be renegotiated.” He added that it was “unlikely the corporation would pay for covered seating without the changes being required by a long-term tenant” (London TELEGRAPH, 11/8). Hone said the stadium's reopening date "would be August 2015 at the absolute earliest and possibly August 2016.” In London, Ashling O’Connor notes the new timeline for the stadium's conversion "would put the reopening three years behind schedule.” The longer the negotiations “drag on, the less likely it seems West Ham will get their way.” The U.K. government is “categorical no more public money will be spent on it, although there may be calls to cover future maintenance and repair costs” (LONDON TIMES, 11/8).
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