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LONDON- Meridian Delta, a consortium made up of Quintain Estates of the UK, Lend Lease of Australia and Anschutz Entertainment Group of the USA, has taken ownership of the controversial Millennium Dome in Greenwich, south-east London. The striking Richard Rogers-designed structure was put up to house a year-long celebration of the millennium at a cost of £840 million ($1.2 billion). But attempts to find a new user have been mired in controversy.

In one of his last acts as Housing and Regeneration Minister Lord Falconer signed the deal with Millennium Delta which will see the dome and the surrounding land transferred for nothing, but with the Government retaining the right to receive a share in development projects that could see £550 million ($800 million) returned to the public purse over 25 years.

Anschutz–which already operates the London Arena on the opposite side of the Thames–plans to run a 20,000-seat sports and entertainment arena inside the dome, on which it will hold a 55-year lease. And Quintain and Lend Lease plan to build up to 7,000 new homes and up to 3.5 million sf of offices, shops and leisure facilities along the rest of the 190-acre Greenwich Peninsula site, with a projected value of £4 billion ($5.8 billion).

Millennium Delta has a minimum obligation to develop 330,000 sf every five years, for 15 years, and to sell land to third parties to allow development of another 670,000 sf every five years.

Lord Falconer said: “This is an excellent deal which secures a viable long term future for the Dome and the rest of the Greenwich Peninsula. This deal allows the public to benefit over the long term rather than selling the land on the cheap and standing by while private companies reap the profits.”

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