LONDON- London mayor Ken Livingstone has given the nod to a €2-billion ($2.4-billion) regeneration scheme proposed by Quintain Estates for the land surrounding the Wembley National Stadium and Arena in North London. The mayor has told Quintain that he will not institute a “direct refusal” of the scheme, following Brent council’s approval of the project.

The project will be based around the National Stadium and Wembley Arena. Designed by Richard Rogers Partnership, plans for the 10-year project include more than 700,000 sf of offices, 366,000 feet of retail and 300,000 sf of leisure facilities including restaurants and bars. A 400-room hotel and 3,700 homes are also part of the plan.

“We are very grateful for the support of the mayor of London,” says Nick Shattock, director of Quintain Estates and Development, “and we are pleased that we are already well advanced with the Section 106 agreement. We’re firmly on track to start on site this autumn.”

The public regeneration specialist is also part of a consortium redeveloping the Millennium Dome and surrounding land in Greenwich. It bought the 44 acres of the Wembley site, including the Arena and Conference & Exhibition Centre, for €72 million ($88 million) in August 2002 and then paid €27 million ($33 million) for a further 11 acres including the Palace of Arts and Palace of Industry.

Earlier this year, heritage minister Lord McIntosh announced that the government would remove the Palace of Arts and Industries buildings in Wembley from the statutory list of protected buildings. English Heritage and Quintain had disagreed over the future of the 1920s-era buildings, with the protective agency arguing there was no need for a delisting. The company bought the Palace of Industries in March 2003, for an initial payment of €18 million ($22 million), providing an initial yield of 9.2%, with a further payment of €7.5 million ($9.2 million) due in 2008. The complex was the first base for BBC outside broadcast operations.

“We are determined to maximise the National Stadium’s impact as a catalyst for regeneration and we are ready to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regenerate the area,” Brent council leader Ann John says. A council pamphlet predicts that “by 2020 Wembley will be an international destination, a key contributor to the London economy and the vibrant heart of the London Borough of Brent.”

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