A fabulous New Stadium was proposed at the Kings Dock site, which Everton pursued in earnest, until the hurdles became to great
End Finally Comes
The Stunning Proposal
Ownership and Naming
The Official Vote
Goodison For Ever-ton
Redevelopment / Alternatives
|THE END FINALLY COMES|
When the announcement finally came, Evertonians had become immune to the abject disappointment, after having been successfully primed for it by a steady drip of bad news about the Kings Dock project since October 2002.
Everton have struggled (for one reason or another) to come up with the £30M investment required to buy their 50% stake in the £150M stadium portion of this £300M project.
But the Club has persisted to the bitter end, desperate to prove to all the doubters that they could come up with the money... even if it did take them two years to do so. And in that time, the costs of the stadium are claimed to have escalated by an incredible 20% (£30M).
Everton thought they could sell Goodison Park for retail use and recoup £15M to £20M, and they all along expected that Paul Gregg would personally guarantee the £30M. In October, 2002, Both of these pipe-dreams evaporated and the future of the project hung in the balance, despite lashing of positive spin form the Club itself. Paul Gregg developed a highly controversial 'reverse mortgage' scheme (see Tony Wooly's analysis) that did not find favour with the more risk-averse members of the Everton Board.
With some key deadlines coming and going, the Board of Liverpool Vision voted to give Everton some more time, but made the critical decision to withdraw the Club's Preferred-Bidder status on 31 December 2002. This opened up the possibility to consider other more modest proposals for the prime waterfront site. Bill Kenwright remained upbeat and the official line form the Club was that they would continue to work on getting the finance in place, with even more commercially sensitive due-diligence dragging the process along at a snail's pace... The thought that the Moores family could be involved again specifically Lord Grantchester, who is thought to be able to finance the project himself if it were not for long-time enmity between him and Bill Kenwright seems like a ridiculous pipe-dream.
|Everton have signed up prestigious developers Bovis
Lend Lease as construction management consultants for advancing
project planning as part of their preferred bid that will include a new
stadium for Everton.
A company has been established to press ahead with plans for the Kings Waterfront Development. Sir Joe Dwyer, chairman of Liverpool Vision (one of Everton's partners in this public/private venture) has been named as its head.
Everton's plans for a massive and far reaching development of Kings Dock plans that will include a new 55,000-seater state-of-the-art stadium at its centrepiece won preferred bidder status from Liverpool Vision back in July 2001. This was arguably the most important step and an enormous achievement by Everton FC.
As the project develops, inevitable changes are being made to the detailed plans and layouts. These changes are not being made public, we are told, because they are subject to change. But some information is being leaked, much to the annoyance of the confidentiality-possessed insiders. However, it is 51% a public project, after all! Surely Everton fans have a right to know what is going on?
This is as far as they got with the construction of a new stadium at Kings Dock:
The timeline for the project got bogged down in the most basic of areas: money. Everton proved that they finally had the original money covered on 1 April 2003 a day late and many dollars short of the escalating construction costs that were conveniently blamed for the failure of this project.
|THE STUNNING PROPOSAL|
You've heard so much about it, but just what exactly are Everton
proposing for what is now called the Kings Waterfront Development?
However, it will double as an entertainment arena with a varying capacity of between 5,500 to 24,000 thanks to a retractable roof and pitch.
The roof can be opened for "outdoor" events and closed for indoor or night-time occasions like rock concerts, exhibitions, shows etc, making the Kings Dock a true rival to Manchester's GMEX Centre. In addition, the pitch will be built on a giant, wheeled, concrete tray 40 cm deep, 80 m wide and 120 m long, making it easy to roll the playing surface at the touch of a button through the stands and out to the side of the stadium where it will double as a park complete with water feature for local residents.
The venue will be have a capacity for conferences of 5,000 (excluding the arena format) and provide for 3,000 Restaurant/Banqueting capacity, 10,000 m² of exhibition space and 2,800 car parking spaces.
The Kings Waterfront Development will also feature 650 one, two and three bedroom apartments, a multi-screen cinema complex, af family entertainment centre, health clinic, fitness club, 150 room 4 or 5 star hotel, bar, restaurants, complimentary shops and offices, street theatre and a late night live music venue - "all at a cost of £150 million" according to the club.
The stadium part of the development will £155 million with up to £30 million generated by Everton FC and approximately £35 million coming from the public sector. The rest of the cost will be met by private investors and sponsorship. The total cost of the project will top £300 million.
|OWNERSHIP AND NAMING|
Perhaps one of the most contentious points about a proposal that really has captured the imagination of the majority of Everton fans is the ownership issue; just how much of the development will Everton actually own and, consequently, how much of the precious and much-touted revenue from the rest of the site will the Club receive?
The intention is to create a management company to push through the development and run the stadium. Everton FC would own 49% of that limited company, English Partnerships 25% with Liverpool City Council and the North West Development Agency each having a 13% share. SFX, or Clear Channel Entertainment as they are now called, will not be involved in ownership of the project.
On that basis, Everton will be the majority stakeholder but their share will not be a majority holding (i.e. they will own less than 50%). Everton basically got 'channeled' into KD by the City Council. A combination of the council's planning zones, residents opposition, government urban planning guidelines (yes, that's Mr Kilfoyle labour government) and the opposition of a certain local MP (yes, that's you again, Mr. Kilfoyle!) meant there was no chance to redevelop Goodison. The council invited EFC to bid for KD and the council then suggested the public-private partnership to open up KD for European Union Objective 1 (EUO1) funding.
Another issue that is bound to arouse controversy is the name of the stadium, something that is close to Evertonian hearts. The working name for the development is "The Waterfront Stadium and Arena", but whether that is acceptable to the paying supporters is another matter.
And Bill Kenwright has not ruled out the possibility of selling the naming rights to a sponsor, raising the horrific prospect of Everton ending up something like the Heinz Baked Beans Stadium and Arena!
|THE BIDDING PROCESS|
Bidders proposing projects for development at the Kings Dock site submitted a second round of submissions on 17 January 2001, including models of the proposed development. Everton, submitting their joint bid with US-based Clear Channel Entertainment (formerly SFX) under Houston Securities, pulled out all the stops to prepare the best submission by a country mile, despite rumours that the controversial stadium bid would face tough competition for the prestigious riverside site from six other proposals for redevelopment. As it turned out, two of those dropped out completely, and another two failed to submit the required models.
All applications went on view for public comment at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock. Evertonians who viewed the plans seem unanimous in their admiration of the Club's efforts, and their awe for the vision and grandeur of the proposed project.
|THE SELECTION CRITERIA|
Not much was revealed about how the winning project would be selected, but it is worth noting that Everton's spectacular bid meets these objectives for the site, as stated by Liverpool Vision:
|THE SELECTION COMMITTEE|
The decision on the development of Kings Dock is being made by a series of committees, including:
Feedback on the relative merits of the proposed projects was sought
from the public. Contact information is given below:
Tel: + 44 (0)151 707 8007
The Chairman is Joe Dwyer.
Tel: + 44 (0)151 703 2701
Arpley House, Unit 5
Tel: + 44 (0)1925 651144
PR Manager: Deborah
Tel: + 44 (0)151 225 2319
Council leader: Mike
North West Development Agency
Tel: + 44 (0)1925 644734
Leader: Mike Shields
|ECHO PHONE POLL|
After initially deriding the Everton bid as a make-weight that had no chance against the six other "world class" proposals, the Liverpool Echo turned full circle, eventually running a phone poll to see which plan for the Kings Dock site is the most popular with readers.
|Houston Securities submitted their £250M proposal to English
Partnerships for the development of the Kings Dock property to include,
among other very important components, a 55,000-seater stadium for Everton
Football Club on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey.
Where will the money come from?
£250M covers everything - including public works, retail developments etc.
The remainder (which will be substantial) will be from the Development Company (with EFC as the majority owner) borrowing. How can we do this when we are already tons in debt?
Well, it will need some co-operation (if you'll pardon the pun) from our retail bankers (likely given the medium term boost to our finances that should result) but long-term debt for stadium funding (typically anything from 10-25 years) is SECURED against the assets built and (in many cases) the revenue streams arising from it the interest cost is far lower than for an overdraft and there is a fixed repayment schedule over the term of the loan. It is the difference between a mortgage and an overdraft.
Looking more closely at just the stadium itself:
The key points are:
Unless EFC do something like this quickly to improve the long-term business prospects we could all be looking back in fondness in 10 years time to the days when we were mediocre. Both Deloitte & Touche and KPMG's financial feasibility studies suggest KD is viable even if Everton are relegated to the Nationwide and suffer 20k crowds for 3 years. This probably represents the worst-case scenario.
If it all works and we effectively get the football revenue (plus a share of residual income from other events) from a 55,000 state-of-the-art centrally located stadium for £30M + perhaps 49% of £40M debt in the development company and an annual contribution to the running costs of the management company, then potentially we have a very good deal. There are lots of 'ifs' but this is far and away the best option open to us.
|This time around, the vote was much less controversial. In
many ways, it was really unnecessary... but Bill Kenwright had promised
that he would consult the fans... and consult them he did. The
fans were asked to choose among three potential development options:
And they overwhelmingly backed the choice of Kings Dock. 15,049 votes were cast in favour of Kings Dock, with just 2,349 voting to redevelop Goodison Park.
|GFE GOODISON FOR EVER-TON|
|Following on from the vote, Goodison for Ever-ton issued
|What if the bid for the Kings Dock site fails? The Everton Board
don't even want to consider the possibility that the bid will fail.... but
if it does, the options must include:
Then there is the dreaded but coolly logical suggestion of ground-sharing with Liverpool FC!!! A joint stadium would face the same site restrictions as development of either Goodison or Anfield (Stanley Park is off limits) plus the opposition of both clubs and a large numbers of supporters. It is, in theory, economically the most attractive alternative but a theory is all it will ever be.