A London-based infrastructure group has been awarded the contract for the transformation of the 2012 Olympic Stadium amid concerns about the venue’s rising costs.
Balfour Beatty has been awarded a 154 million-pound contract to turn the facility into a new home ground for West Ham United, pushing the total cost of the Summer Games venue to more than 580 million.
The completed project will feature a cantilevered roof, corporate offices, retractable seats, and a capacity of 54,000. Work is expected to begin quickly with completion expected by spring 2016.
“[U]pon completion,” said Balfour Beatty chief executive Andrew McNaughton, “the stadium will provide a first-class sporting and cultural facility for many generations to come.”
Balfour Beatty was previously awarded the contracted to install the roof for 41 million pounds. It will now lead the remainder of the project as well.
The deal comes under criticism as West Ham United plays under threat of relegation and questions about whether the club will be able to sell enough tickets to justify the move.
“Where is the cash coming from? Who’s paying for it? We still don’t really know, but chances are we’re all contributing,” said Andrew Boff of the London Assembly, according to The Guardian.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for Premier League football clubs.”
Club vice chair Karren Brady defended the decision, asserting that “West Ham is not getting a free stadium.”
“The stadium was built for the Olympics and what are we going to do with it?,” she said. “Across the world, stadiums that are not used die. Without anchor tenants, the cost would be huge to the taxpayer.”