Following a summer of peace for non-football fans, with no World Cup or European Championship invading weddings, barbeques and holidays, the Premier League roars back into action on Friday 11th August.
In addition to new players, new kits and dodgy new haircuts, three stadia will host Premier League football for the first time.
Ironically the most significant ‘new’ venue in question is one of England and world football’s most historic and celebrated venues, Wembley Stadium. For the first time the venue will host regular season league football despite a history stretching back to 1923, and in its current format to 2007. Since reopening at a cost of £789 million (over £1 billion today) Wembley has set an example for stadium-led regeneration.
After a controversial development phase, fast-forward ten years and Wembley is flourishing. The stadium regularly attracts tens of thousands to events, hosting two Champions League finals, football matches at the 2012 Olympics, rugby at the 2015 World Cup and major music stars. But it is what has happened outside the stands which has really revitalised this corner of London.
According to the Mayor of London, Wembley (the town) can accommodate 11,500 new homes and support 10,000 new jobs. Alongside the stadium, Wembley Park station, connected to the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines, was extensively redeveloped in 2007, allowing for greater capacity. This has given the area surrounding the stadium the ability to develop a number of buildings for different types of residential use.
Quintain, the developer now owned by American private equity firm Lone Star Funds, is in the process of building out their consent for 8.8 million sq ft of mixed use development, including 7,000 new homes. This also incorporates Tipi, the company’s PRS brand. Further developments include two large student accommodation schemes, at Dexion House and a new Unite development, with 800 and 700 units respectively. Alto have also broken ground on their 362 home scheme, which will also include a new community centre.
Clearly, the stadium itself is not the sole standout attraction for developers, but rather the infrastructure improvements which come with it. The London Stadium, formerly known as the Olympic Stadium and now home to West Ham United is a case study in itself. Indeed, former mayor Ken Livingstone has suggested that his support for the 2012 Olympic bid was primarily based on his interest in the regeneration of the East End.
Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, still unnamed, is situated on the site of their old venue White Hart Lane and is due for completion in 2018. Alongside a 61,000 capacity stadium, the site will also include 579 new homes, a 180 key hotel and several community buildings. Further examples of stadium-led regeneration exist at the Etihad Stadium and Etihad Campus in Manchester, whilst Arsenal redeveloped their old stadium at Highbury for residential use.
The topic is so significant that the London Assembly published a document in March 2015 outlining the importance of strong relations between clubs and the local community and to outline the clear benefits of a new stadium on disused land – particularly at a time when land for new housing in London and across the country is scarce. As the billions keep on flowing into the Premier League, stadium redevelopment will likely continue to act as a regeneration catalyst.