Chelsea lean toward move to Battersea

CHELSEA have moved a step closer to relocating to Battersea power station after confirming they have appointed property developers and architects to draw up plans for the site.

The Premier League club have appointed Mike Hussey, the former Land Securities director and current chief executive of Centre Point owners Almacantar, as their development partner and Kohn Pedersen Fox as architects for the project.

Blues chiefs are exploring the possibility of relocating from Stamford Bridge to a bigger stadium, and have been prompted to step up their interest in Battersea following interest the site from a Malaysian firm.

A Chelsea spokesman said: “In the past, we’ve talked to various people with interests in Battersea power station, but we haven’t had any substantive discussions with anyone regarding that site for several months. However, in light of current developments, we now think it prudent to look again at the feasibility and potential for the site to be developed for a football stadium.

“We have made no decision to leave Stamford Bridge, and we continue to discuss with the local council any economically viable options to expand the Bridge, but we will continue to investigate various options close to Stamford Bridge.”

Potential redevelopments of the site, owned by Real Estate Opportunities, have repeatedly failed and been complicated by around £300m of debt. Malaysian company SP Setia this week had a bid of £255m at 85p in the pound for the senior debt rejected by Lloyds and Irish bank National Asset Management Agency.

Chelsea, also interested in sites at Earls Court and White City, need to convince Chelsea Pitch Owners, the supporter-led group which owns the freehold to Stamford Bridge, to sell to them before they can move.