West Ham awarded Olympic Stadium tenancy

West Ham hope to move into London’s Olympic Stadium by 2016 after a change in the funding agreement allowed the Premier League club to become the site’s anchor tenants, the BBC has reported.

The venue was the centrepiece of the 2012 London Olympics and will be refurbished to make it suitable for football. The cost of the work is estimated at between £150m and £190m, with £60m of that coming from the government and West Ham contributing £15m.

Funds from Boris Johnson’s London Mayoral budget, a loan from the local Newham council and finance from the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) will help make up the rest of the project. A portion of any sale of West Ham within the next decade will also be paid to the LLDC in return.

Both the Hammers and the government have upped their share of the cost – West Ham’s share was originally £5m while the government will spend an extra £25m on the project. West Ham will also pay £2m a year in rent on a 99-year lease.

The stadium will retain its running track, allowing it to host athletics events, but for football seats will slide over the track and move spectators closer to the pitch. The set-up of the stadium can be changed within days, while the stadium’s roof will be extended and the stadium’s capacity reduced from 90,000 to 60,000.

Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn is contesting the decision, seeking a judicial review into the bidding process, while naming rights for the stadium are expected to be sold.

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