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Stadium Official Resigns as Costs Soar

Friday, November 4, 2016

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An official charged with “maximizing the legacy” of the London 2012 Olympic Games has stepped down amid an investigation involving ballooning costs of a stadium transformation project, according to various reports.

David Edmonds, the chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation, quit his post after London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced Tuesday (Nov. 1) that he had opened a probe into the rising cost of converting the London Stadium into a football arena for the West Ham United Football Club.

Reports say costs have soared from £272 million ($338 million USD) (announced last year) to £323 million ($401 million). The stadium was completed for £429 million ($533 million) ahead of the games.

London Stadium
London Legacy Development Corporation

Reports say costs to transform the London Stadium in Olympic Park into a facility to host West Ham United Football games have soared from £272 million ($338 million USD)  to £323 million ($401 million).

Costs associated with moving newly installed retractable seats are partially responsible for the latest price increase, The Guardian reports.

The West Ham Club initially contributed £15 million ($18 million) to the conversion project, leaving taxpayers to pay the rest. West Ham also pays £2.5 million ($3.1 million) a year to rent the facility, reports say. The team played its first game there in August.

Mayor Orders Inquiry

“The mayor is deeply concerned about the finances of the Olympic Stadium, which have clearly been left in a total and utter mess by the previous administration at City Hall,” a spokesman for Khan told reporters. Khan succeeded Boris Johnson in May.

“Sadiq has ordered a detailed investigation into the full range of financial issues surrounding the stadium,” the spokesman said.

The chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance echoed the mayor’s call.

“It is apparent that very little—if any—consideration was given to what was to be done with the stadium once the Olympics were over,” said John O’Connell.

“There are very serious questions about the shocking lack of forward planning which has left taxpayers with a hefty bill for a stadium whose viability is uncertain. The forthcoming inquiry, which must be conducted efficiently, needs to get to the bottom of how authorities managed to get themselves into this mess in the first place.”

In announcing the departure of Edmonds, the LLDC did not mention the investigation.

LLDC Chief Executive David Goldstone said Edmonds, who had been appointed in September 2015, had “made an enormous contribution to the legacy of the London 2012 Games and he has helped to steer the organization through some extremely challenging issues.”

About the Project

The conversion project involved removing the original roof and light paddles to install one of the world’s largest cantilevered roofs, according to officials.

The 45,000-square-meter roof is twice the size of the original and is designed to cover every seat in the venue.

An innovative retractable seating system for 21,000 spectators was also installed.

Catering facilities and toilets and turnstiles were installed, as many of those original elements were designed to be temporary for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The facility is also equipped to host concerts and other athletic activities.

   

Tagged categories: Finance; Funding; Government; Renovation; Roofing materials; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

Comment from Jesse Melton, (11/4/2016, 11:16 AM)

Why is the rent so cheap? That's less than what some anchor stores in large shopping centers pay in the US. I guess "conversion project" is what they're calling a bribe over there now.


Comment from Mark Lewis, (11/4/2016, 5:36 PM)

I'm not sure if West Ham deserves such luxury. They're flirting with relegation this season.


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