West Ham to move into Olympic Stadium from 2016-17 season
West Ham United have been confirmed as the main tenants of the Olympic Stadium and hope to move in to ground by summer of 2016
West Ham United have been confirmed as the main tenants of the Olympic Stadium and hope to move into the ground in time for the 2016-17 season.
The £429m stadium will be transformed into 54,000-seater arena after plans that include a new roof and retractable seating were unveiled.
West Ham’s vice chair Karren Brady said she was “delighted” by Friday’s announcement following a controversial and long-drawn-out saga over the future of the stadium.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
West Ham, who have agreed a 99-year lease on the ground and will pay £2m a year in rent, will contribute £15m towards the stadium’s redevelopment costs of at least £150m.
Newham Council will invest £40m, while the government has agreed to provide additional support of up to £25m if required.
“This is a truly momentous milestone for London’s spectacular Olympic Stadium ensuring its credible and sustainable future,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson.
“Through this deal with West Ham United, we are defying the gloomsters who predicted this landmark would become a dusty relic.”
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said that the council’s investment of £40m into the project will help transform the stadium into a “world class attraction”.
“We’re delighted that West Ham United has been chosen by the London Legacy Development Corporation to become the main occupant of the stadium,” he said. “It is a community club which shares our vision for Newham and the local area.”
West Ham were named as preferred bidder back in December after proposals from University College of Football and Business, Leyton Orient and Intelligent Transport Solutions, who brought forward a proposition to hold a Formula 1 race around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The ground could also be used as a venue for the 2015 rugby World Cup during the transformation work but depends on whether the stadium is selected as a venue for the tournament.
Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn is seeking a judicial review into the bidding process, claiming that the League One outfit were not given the chance to discuss the possibility of a groundshare with the Hammers.