West Ham get Olympic Stadium after government ups funding
West Ham will be anchor tenants for the Olympic Stadium after the government agreed to put in an extra £25m towards the costs of converting the venue.
The additional money takes the Treasury’s contribution to around £60m.
Adapting the stadium could cost between £150m and £190m.
But the deal was secured only after West Ham agreed to increase their own funding of the project by £5m, to £15m. They will move in from August 2016 and pay around £2m a year rent.
Under conversion plans, the roof will be extended and the seating capacity reduced from 80,000 to 60,000, with a retractable system allowing the venue to be converted from an athletics arena to football stadium within days.
Seats will slide over the running track to bring West Ham fans closer to the action.
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) will begin work on the roof in the autumn and officials hope it will be ready for the autumn of 2015 – in time for the Rugby World Cup.
After that the stadium will close again to reconfigure the stadium’s lower seating bowl and re-open in time for West Ham to start playing their games there in August 2016.
Although West Ham were appointed preferred bidders by the LLDC three months ago, there were still fears the agreement could collapse over how to finance the transformation of the stadium.
Initially the club had been reluctant to pay anything, but over time they increased their contribution to £10m and are now prepared to pay £15m.
The rest of the money will be drawn from a range of sources, including London Mayor Boris Johnson’s budget, a £40m loan from Newham Council and around £20m of borrowings by the LLDC.
Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21889864