Chelsea agree to buy land next to Stamford Bridge to rebuild the stadium

Chelsea have not made a final decision on their redevelopment plans for Stamford Bridge despite reaching an agreement in principle to buy land next to their stadium.

Winning the race to buy a 1.2-acre site owned by Stoll, a provider of subsidized housing for veterans, will reduce the chances that Chelsea will have to find a new home. Building one of the biggest and best stadiums in the country has been a key concern for owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, and the way forward has become a bit clearer after Stoll’s board of directors approved the sale. of most of its Sir Oswald stadium. Stoll Mansions site, subject to further consultation with residents.

However, sources close to the process have stressed that Chelsea’s purchase of the ground will not automatically mean they build a new state-of-the-art ground at Stamford Bridge. All options are still on the table and the club is not ruling out transfers.

Chelsea are understood to see a move to Earl’s Court as an attractive proposition if they cannot find a way to stay. Any move would depend on the club receiving the backing of Chelsea Pitch Owners, owners of the Stamford Bridge stadium and the Chelsea FC name, and that would require significant negotiation.

The importance of buying Stoll’s site is that it will give Chelsea flexibility while the hierarchy considers the best way forward. Stamford Bridge’s capacity of 40,341 is at the smaller end of the Premier League, but a rebuild is no easy feat. The current site offers little room to maneuver and the stadium next to a metro line is a major complication.

The purchase of the land owned by Stoll is essential for Chelsea if they want to tear down Stamford Bridge and go ahead with a major expansion. Doing so will give them more room for a rebuild, so they can’t afford to let another developer win the bidding process. Stoll received 13 offers and the consultation with the residents will last nine weeks, with a final decision expected in the autumn. Under proposed plans, Stoll will retain 20 flats on the Fulham site.

A view of Stoll Flats next to Stamford Bridge. Photograph: PA Images/Alamy

Chelsea will be left with three options as they consider how to increase their attendance and generate more matchday revenue: a complete rebuild of Stamford Bridge, a stand-by-stand redevelopment or a move to a new site. The project is being overseen by board member Jonathan Goldstein and Janet Marie Smith, executive vice president of planning and development for the LA Dodgers.

It is understood that a stand-by-stand reconstruction is considered the least attractive option. It is believed that the project would take too long and would be an unnecessary commitment. The feeling is that Chelsea would gain little by going that route and would not end up with a world-class stadium. They don’t have the space to minimize fan disruption by building new stands behind the existing ones.

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The preferred option for supporters would be for Chelsea to demolish Stamford Bridge, rebuild it and remain at SW6. It is estimated that it would take at least five years, meaning Chelsea would have to play at a temporary home. Tottenham spent two years at Wembley while building their new ground, which has a capacity of 62,850.

If the sale of the Stoll mansions goes ahead, the charity will look to establish new properties for veterans with support needs that would benefit from better facilities and broader services and enhance its community outreach programmes.

Stoll consulted with residents about the site last year and has spent the past six months reviewing bids. “The board evaluated many factors and concluded that the ownership group of Chelsea FC offered the strongest offer in terms of how it would support Stoll and our residents through the process, its financial offer that would ensure the future sustainability of the organization and its understanding of the charity and the importance of continuing to have a positive impact on the lives of veterans for generations to come,” said Ray Lock, Chairman of the Trustees.

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