The final bill for the stadium in Queen Elizabeth Park has been confirmed by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) at £272 million. Add that to the original £430 million for the Olympic version to get £702 million, making the stadium the most expensive in Britain and in the same league as some US billion-dollar builds.
The LLDC’s strategy is still on course, with international events scheduled for the venue, a pro-active operator in place and a Premier League tenant that will bring large audiences to the site on a regular basis. It will be the only stadium in the UK to meet UEFA Category 4 classification and be a fully compliant IAAF Category 1 athletics facility. Hemmed in by the commitment to athletics, the LLDC chose to convert rather than rebuild, which was made possible by the latest roof and retractable seating technology. The cost overrun of £118m on its original estimate is put down by the LLDC to:
the huge scale of the works undertaken to transform the former Olympic venue from a temporary athletics stadium into a year-round multi-use arena capable of delivering world class sporting and cultural events.
The Stadium will help deliver millions of additional visitors to the area every year and will be part of a regeneration programme that will create an additional economic benefit to east London of well over £3 billion.
The Stadium work included the removal of the original roof and light paddles and installation of a new permanent roof, the largest of its kind in the world. The 45,000sq. m cantilevered roof needed significant strengthening of the superstructure to support the 8km of cable net, 112 steel rafters, 9,900 roof panels and 14 light paddles each weighing 45 tonnes. The new roof covers every seat in the venue, improving the acoustics and spectator experience.
An innovative retractable seating system required the removal of the lower seating bowl. The 21,000 movable seats bring the fans close to the pitch for football and rugby ensuring the Stadium has a long-term legacy. Other works included installing catering facilities, toilets and turnstiles, all of which were only temporary during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Before the Stadium re-opens permanently in 2016, the transformation works will be paused this summer to allow the venue to host the Great Newham London Run, Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, a Barbarians v Samoa rugby union fixture, five matches in the Rugby World Cup 2015, an England v New Zealand Rugby League international and the Race of Champions motorsport event.
David Goldstone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said:
We have invested in transforming a temporary athletics venue into a permanent world class multi use arena that has a secure and long-term sustainable future. This has required a significant amount of work and innovative engineering solutions.
Alongside the transformation work the deals signed with British Athletics and West Ham United and the appointment of a stadium operator ensures the Stadium will pay its way and not require any continuing subsidy from the taxpayer.
With a significant amount of work still to do until the Stadium opens in its permanent mode, the Legacy Corporation still holds a contingency fund, which is not included in the costs already announced. Once the transformation of the Stadium is complete it will not require continuous subsidy from the taxpayer and will see a return to the taxpayer through future profits due to the agreements in place with the operator VINCI and concessionaires West Ham United and UK Athletics. The Stadium will contribute to the ongoing and hugely successful regeneration programme already being delivered at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.