English soccer side Everton FC have exchanged the contracts to lease land at Bramley Moore Dock in Liverpool, reaching a major milestone on their road towards building a new state of the art stadium.
The ultimate approval of the lease is conditional upon receiving planning permission from the Liverpool city council for the new venue and securing funding for its construction. The Premier League club expect these hurdles to be overcome early in 2018.
Once finalised, the Bramley Moore lease will run for a period of 200 years, with Everton paying a so-called peppercorn rent to Peel Land and Property, which owns the land.
“Clearly, this is very positive news," said Robert Elstone, chief executive of Everton. "Gaining control of the site was essential for us to be able to move forward with the next stages of the project - finalising the funding agreement with the council and preparing for the submission of a planning application - both of which we hope to do in the new year.
"I’d like to thank Peel as well as Mayor Anderson and his colleagues at the council for their support in getting us to this point.”
The proposed new stadium will be part of a major redevelopment project across the whole of North Liverpool, with CBRE, which is advising Everton, estimating that the new stadium will provide a boost of over UK£1 billion to the local economy.
Everton are nine-time winners of England's top flight, and are among just six clubs to have played in every season of the Premier League since its inception in 1992. The senior men's side have struggled so far this campaign, and currently sit 16th in the table having sacked their Dutch manager, Ronald Koeman, in October.