The Jockey Club has appointed Kier as the main contractor to deliver its £45m grandstand development at Cheltenham Racecourse in time for The Festival 2016. The Jockey Club has secured all £45m funding required for what amounts to its largest-ever single capital investment project. The funding package includes nearly £25m successfully raised through The Jockey Club Racecourse Bond – the first retail bond in British sport. The remaining £20m has been secured through a combination of bank financing via The Jockey Club’s syndicate banks – HSBC, AIB and RBS, a Levy Board capital fund loan, commercial deals and the Group’s available cashflow from trading.
Kier’s appointment follows a highly competitive tender process involving several leading construction firms.
The development will create a state-of-the-art new grandstand alongside Cheltenham’s existing main grandstand. It will include new annual members’ facilities, general public viewing areas, private boxes, a Super Club and the Royal Box. The project will also see the creation of elevated walkways to ease mobility for customers and provide a multi-tiered ‘amphitheatre’ experience around the parade ring, allowing even more people to enjoy the equine stars at the heart of all Cheltenham’s racedays.
Preparation works began last summer with the removal of the circa 1920s ‘A&R’ block of boxes, replaced for the duration of the 2013/14 season by a high-quality temporary structure that enhances the facilities available to racegoers. This has been called the Arkle Stand as part of celebrations to commemorate 50 years since the great chaser won the first of his three Cheltenham Gold Cup victories. Nicholas Wrigley, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, said:
“In the last thirty years, more than £80 million has been spent on Cheltenham’s facilities. It is fitting our Group’s largest ever single investment coincides with the 50th anniversary of Racecourse Holdings Trust, which was formed in 1964 to acquire and protect Cheltenham Racecourse, then later became Jockey Club Racecourses.
Ian Cheung, Managing Director of Kier Construction’s Central Operations, said:
We are very excited to be appointed construction contractors for this prestigious project and we look forward to renewing our working relationship with the racecourse team. It is a challenging project, but we will work hard to ensure that throughout the works the impact on the racing calendar is kept to a minimum. Our racecourse team all live locally and are looking forward to delivering this fantastic facility for The Jockey Club and Cheltenham.