QPR chairman reveals new 40,000-capacity stadium plan
Queen's Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes has announced plans of a "huge project" to move the club into a new 40,000-seater stadium, according to a report in The Times.
The newspaper reports the club has already started investing in land on the Old Oak Common site, while a new ground would be part of a £10 billion redevelopment of West London. The site is around a mile away from the club's current home, Loftus Road.
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Fernades believes investing in the project and moving into a new stadium will help the club establish itself as a large force in the Premier League. According to the report, the club has made a reported bid of £21m for a site close to the Common, while they are also prepared to invest a further £15m to obtain planning permission.
They are convening with the Hammersmith and Fulham Council as well as the Greater London Authority over the plans.
Plans also include a residential area with the potential for 24,000 new homes, while the inclusion of a new commercial sector would feature a luxury hotel, offices and restaurants. Regeneration of the area is reported to create around 50,000 jobs.
"This isn't just building a stadium but virtually a whole new community," Fernandes told The Times. "The football club gives us the anchor, the huge number of eyeballs which come with the attention of being in the Premier League. It is a huge project and the stadium gives it focus and impetus."
"I feel we can sell 40,000 seats because we are building new homes next door," he said. "I'm a big believer in flexible pricing and it's one of my dreams with a better stadium, and London's corporate hospitality, to reduce the cost of some seats.
Speaking to the BBC, Fernades added: "Loftus Road is - and always will be - a special place for the club and our supporters, but we need more than an 18,000 capacity. With no option of expanding here, we have to look elsewhere and we welcome the Mayor's and Hammersmith & Fulham Council's commitment to regenerate the area.
"Not only will this give us a top-quality stadium to cater for QPR's needs as the club progresses and grows over the years ahead, but we are very excited about being the driving force behind creating one of the best new urban places in the world."
Shareholders in the club - including billionaire Lakshmi Mittal - are hoping to attract overseas investors, while the project, which will need planning approval, is also somewhat dependent on the construction of the new Old Oak Common rail hub. The hub would act as London's main station for the new HS2 rail project.
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