Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge to undergo large development changes

Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge to undergo large development changes

Chelsea have begun to assemble an elite team of professionals in preparation for the long-awaited restoration of Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have planned to improve Stamford Bridge for some time, with proposals approved by previous owner Roman Abramovich getting planning clearance in 2018.

The original completion date for that project, which would have seen the stadium expand to 60,000 seats with architecture inspired by London’s iconic Westminster Abbey, was April 2021. However, it never got off the ground, and the planning authorization has now expired.

Chelsea are in desperate need of a bigger home. Stamford Bridge’s current 40,000-capacity pales into insignificance compared to the rest of the Premier League’s big clubs, all of whom have stadiums ranging from 53,000 to 74,000. It means Chelsea are missing out on substantial additional revenue.

The latest acquisition headed by chairman Todd Boehly included a refurbishment of Stamford Bridge. The total value of the transaction was £4.25 billion, which included a guarantee to invest £1.75 billion in the stadium and other future facilities.

According to The Times, Janet Marie Smith, a prominent specialist who has previously worked on two of baseball’s most iconic facilities, Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium, has already been hired to collaborate alongside London-based architects.

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Smith is known for modernising stadiums while retaining historical elements. That could be a big plus in terms of preserving the original character of a stadium that has been a part of Chelsea’s identity since 1905.

Chelsea co-owner Jonathan Goldstein, a member of the Boehly-led group, is also providing his skills as a real estate magnate and has already proposed some solutions to the board.

The initiative will investigate all possibilities, including reconstructing Stamford Bridge one stand at a time, dismantling the old stadium and beginning from scratch, or transferring to a completely new location.

Liverpool is rebuilding Anfield one stand at a time, whereas Tottenham built a new stadium on the same site as their old White Hart Lane, and Arsenal built the Emirates Stadium on a new site.

 

To completely leave Stamford Bridge, Chelsea would need permission from Chelsea Pitch Owners, the company that holds the freehold Stamford Bridge is leased on. The alternative is potentially having to surrender the name Chelsea FC. Abramovich tried and failed to do that in 2011.


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