West Ham lodge new bid to take over Olympic Stadium
Saturday 24 March 2012
West Ham United have re-submitted a bid to take over the Olympic Stadium post-Games. Yesterday was the deadline for applicants to lodge proposals with the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which will decide the future of the £500m stadium.
West Ham's was one of four bids received by the OPLC. Others who have expressed an interest include entertainment giant AEG, which runs the 02, and Live Nation. A decision is expected by early June.
The OPLC chose West Ham as preferred bidders ahead of Tottenham Hotspur last year but that process collapsed in the wake of legal challenges by Spurs and Leyton Orient. "We have not taken this decision lightly and I should be clear that any move to the Stadium is conditional on the fact that it must provide an arena that is fit for world-class football," said Karren Brady, the club's vice-chairman.
Brady said that "supporter feedback" had been instrumental in assembling the bid, which has again been submitted with the backing of UK Athletics, which will host the 2017 world championships in the stadium. The running track will remain in place in any deal, which is likely to be on a 99-year-lease.
With no Spurs involvement, West Ham will push for concessions in the deal with the OPLC in the knowledge that having a major anchor tenant is vital for the stadium's future. Part of that may see the OPLC install undersoil heating to ensure the pitch meets Premier League standards as part of the stadium's publicly-funded revamp before it is handed over to West Ham, if they are the successful bidders. After the Games, the 80,000 capacity will be reduced to around 60,000.
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