The countdown has begun for Salford’s £26 million community stadium – the largest single investment in sport in the city for decades – as work officially starts on site.
Salford City Council has formed a joint venture company with Peel to deliver the 15,000 capacity stadium – which will be home to the Reds – by December 2011.
The NWDA is funding the £4 million cost of preparing the Barton site for development and joined the joint venture partners at a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony.
After the ground is prepared, construction of the new stadium will start in October. Development of the site will be phased, with retail units added later.
Salford council and Peel have pooled their land-holdings to create a single, 70-acre super-site. Detailed proposals for the development are to be considered by council planners in August.
A delivery date of December 2011 has been agreed for the stadium in order to boost the Reds’ bid for a new Super League licence earlier in the year – and to be ready for the 2012 Super League season.
The joint venture company would manage the stadium, with the Reds having a licence to use it.
As well as a grant from the NWDA, funding for the site’s regeneration will come in a loan from the city council to the joint venture company to pay for the construction work and new infrastructure.
In the business case for the new stadium, the loan will be repaid by selling the developed land to retail tenants and with income from people and clubs using the facility, including ticket sales, car parking, advertising, and conference and banqueting venue hire.
Salford City Council leader, Cllr John Merry said: “Today’s ground-breaking is another milestone in Salford’s regeneration and marks the next stage in our journey toward a new sports stadium for the city.
“The partnership we’ve created will deliver an important cultural – and economic – asset for the city and gives residents a no-cost stake in that success.
“I look forward to our stadium’s completion – and to welcoming the Super League Reds to it in February 2012!”
Mike Butterworth, property director at Peel said: “The stadium is a long held ambition of both the club and the council to have a new sporting venue and we are pleased to play out part in helping to bring this to fruition.
“This is the start of a major redevelopment of this corner of Salford and we look forward to seeing the exciting transformation in the coming years.”
Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: “It is excellent that work is progressing on a project which will bring considerable social and economic benefits to Salford.
“The new stadium will bring 45 acres of derelict brownfield land back into productive use for the community, provide a new venue for events which will benefit the visitor economy and create new jobs.”
Chairman of Salford City Reds, John Wilkinson OBE said: “Today is a landmark event in the history of the Salford Rugby Club and certainly one of the most momentous I can remember throughout my long involvement with the Reds.
“It is the beginning of the end of one of the toughest journeys the club has ever been on, and we are fortunate to have such fantastic partners as the city of Salford and Peel to provide a superb new stadium that will benefit all the people of the city, their Rugby Club and Super League – we look forward to working with them to ensure a successful new venue that everyone in Salford will be rightly proud of.”
Source: Northwest Regional Development Agency