MAYOR Boris Johnson has warned West Ham that he will walk away from talks and reopen a football-free Olympic Stadium next summer if they cannot thrash out their remaining differences.
The Hammers were yesterday named first-choice bidders for the centrepiece of the 2012 Games by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), but significant hurdles remain before a 99-year lease can be signed.
LLDC chairman Johnson wants to ensure the public purse takes a cut if West Ham are sold for a profit or enjoy an upturn in revenue as a result of moving to the £429m venue in 2016. A deal with the Premier League club is also conditional on reaching agreement on precisely what changes would be made to the venue to allow it to host football as well as athletics, and who should foot the £160m bill.
Further talks between the LLDC and West Ham are now due but Johnson insisted he would continue exploring plans to reopen the stadium more cheaply in 2013 for concerts and one-off events.
He said: “If we can’t do a deal that protects taxpayer value, that protects the £9.3bn of Olympic investment and the £500m spent building the stadium alone, that’s fine and we’ll go on and the stadium will have a fantastic future.”
Legacy chiefs want a cut of any increased revenues or profit from a sale that West Ham enjoy as a result of moving to the Olympic Stadium
Still to be decided who will bridge funding gap for £160m conversion. A £70m loan from Newham council and £38m from Olympic budget leaves around £50m, of which West Ham have pledged £15m