Arsenal stadium cost doubles

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The Independent Online

The cost of Arsenal's new football stadium at Ashburton Grove has doubled from past estimates to £200m, turning it into the most expensive club stadium ever built in the UK.

The cost of Arsenal's new football stadium at Ashburton Grove has doubled from past estimates to £200m, turning it into the most expensive club stadium ever built in the UK.

The state-of-the-art 60,000 all-seater, modelled on Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium and designed by the same architect, is being built less than a mile from Arsenal's old Highbury ground in north London. Sources close to the club confirmed the new stadium's final cost was now expected to be about £200m, including ancillary services and land acquisition.

The surge in building costs is more than double the £47m windfall Arsenal received last month from Granada Media in return for a 5 per cent stake in the club and an agreement to handle Arsenal's media rights. Under the deal Granada will become Arsenal's agent for its advertising, sponsorship, merchandising and licensing agreements.

Granada has also agreed to pay an extra £30m to take a further 4.99 per cent stake in Arsenal once the new stadium is completed. Granada already has shares in Liverpool and has entered into a joint venture with BSkyB and Manchester United to run the MUTV television station .

The new Ashburton Grove stadium, with a capacity well above Highbury's 38,500, is expected to double Arsenal's revenues via larger attendances and increased merchandise sales. Its former Highbury home looks set to become a residential development of 320 apartments.

Arsenal shares, listed on Ofex , are currently priced at £2,800.

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