London Mayor Boris Johnson announces West Ham win battle for Olympic Stadium
PUBLISHED: 10:37 22 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:51 22 March 2013
After years of gruelling negotiations, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has finally confirmed that West Ham United Football Club will be the main tenants of London’s Olympic Stadium.
West Ham and Newham Council have agreed a 99-year lease with the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Hammers will move into the Stratford stadium in the summer of 2016.
The London 2012 centrepiece in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be converted into a 54,000-seater UEFA Category Four venue and transformation works will include a new roof and retractable seating.
In addition to the funds to be provided by the Legacy Corporation for the adaptation works, West Ham will contribute £15 million, Newham Council will invest £40 million and the Government has agreed to provide additional support of up to £25 million should it be required once the tenders are returned.
The deal will generate hundreds of new jobs, encourage many thousands of visitors to the local area and act as a catalyst for further economic investment and growth in the area. The proposed sale of Upton Park also provides further regeneration opportunities.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and Chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “This is a truly momentous milestone for London’s spectacular Olympic Stadium ensuring its credible and sustainable future. Through this deal with West Ham United FC, we are defying the gloomsters who predicted this landmark would become a dusty relic.
“With a series of world class entertainment and sporting fixtures already in the bag for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this iconic site is set to be the glittering centrepiece of ambitious regeneration plans for east London, which will capitalise on the Olympic investment into this area for the long term benefit of this city.”
Joint West Ham chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said: “’It’s fantastic for everyone at West Ham United that at last all the club’s hard work over the past three years has paid off. Since we came to West Ham in 2010 we have had a vision to really take the club forward so West Ham United can compete on the pitch at the highest level.
“Today’s decision offers us a real platform to do this and we are fully committed to making it a real success. We understand the responsibilities that come with calling the nation’s iconic Olympic Stadium, which will be converted into a world-class football stadium, our new home. It is an honour we will take on with pride.”
Karren Brady, vice chairman of West Ham United Football Club, said: “I’m delighted that we have been confirmed today as the anchor concessionaire for the Olympic Stadium. I commend my two chairmen for their passion and commitment. I am delighted this has been rewarded now that their ambition to see the club they love enjoy a bright future at the iconic Olympic Stadium has been realised.
“It was important to me that we struck a deal that would stand the test of time that represented the right deal for West Ham United and our loyal and patient supporters.
“The consultation we have promised them will now begin and we can’t wait to work with them to create a stunning new home that befits the pride, passion and tradition that the world associates with West Ham United.”
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “Newham has been committed from the start to ensuring a lasting legacy for the Olympic Stadium that will benefit Newham residents, London and the nation as a whole.
“Our investment of £40 million secures that legacy by transforming the Olympic Stadium into a world class attraction and the beating heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This will provide us with a share of the profits generated over the long-term and a range of community benefits for Newham residents.
“It will enable us to support residents into jobs in such an inspirational place, provide tickets to the Stadium as a reward for those who put something back into our community, and fire the ambition of Newham children as they cross the same finishing line as their sporting heroes.
“We’re delighted that West Ham United has been chosen by the London Legacy Development Corporation to become the main occupant of the Stadium. It is a community club which shares our vision for Newham and the local area.
“We will now work with our partners to transform and develop the stadium and island site into one of London’s premier destination venues and a home for sport and entertainment for generations to come.”
Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “West Ham has a long and proud history in the East End so it’s fitting that its new home will be at the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“The club also has great experience working with local communities and we are delighted that they will now be partnering with us and Newham Council to bring further sporting, health and education benefits to local people.
“The Stadium is one of the final pieces in the legacy jigsaw on the Park and with its future now secured, we can be confident of a bright future for generations to come. We are on track to deliver a fantastic new destination and a great legacy for east London.”
To mark one year on from the Games and celebrate the success of London 2012, in July this year the stadium will host several major events. These will include the London Anniversary Games – a weekend of athletics including the IAAF Diamond League and a showcase of 2012 Paralympic champions, as well as a major music concert.
Following the full opening of the venue in 2016, the Stadium will also become the new national centre for athletics. UK Athletics has been given priority use of the venue from the third weekend in June to the end of July every year, under a 50 year agreement, while the Stadium will host the IAAF World Athletics Championships and IPC Athletics World Championships.
Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics, said: “We’re pleased that the stadium process has reached this next important milestone and remain excited that athletics will be a central part of a vibrant year-round solution to this iconic venue. In the meantime Londoners and the wider British public can look forward in July to three days of world class international athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the London Anniversary Games.”
Lord Sebastian Coe said: My congratulations to West Ham and the teams at the Mayor’s office and the Legacy Corporation for finalising this deal. Having a well thought out future for the centre piece venue in Queen Elizabeth Park is an exceptional result and I hope the great athletic performances that took place in the Stadium over the summer of 2012 will echo and inspire future teams, future sports and future spectators.