Helsea are hoping to take a step closer to getting the final go-ahead to buy a £65million plot of land next to Stamford Bridge as they evaluate plans to redevelop their stadium.
The purchase of the neighboring 1.2-acre site, which is owned by veterans’ charity Stoll, will reduce the chances of Chelsea having to find a new home.
Chelsea have reached an agreement in principle with Stoll, who will receive the results of a nine-week consultation with residents on Wednesday.
Stoll’s board hopes to make a decision in October, which could jumpstart Todd Boehly’s plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge and increase its capacity from 42,000 to at least 55,000.
Expansion plans risk angering around 100 local military retirees whose homes on the Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions site are in danger.
The association insists that under current plans 20 apartments would be retained and the huge sum of money would be invested in new properties to ensure “the best possible outcome for residents”.
Fulham Medical Center is also based on the site and has warned that “more than 6,500 patients could be left without a GP” if the land sale goes through.
They have launched a “save our surgery” campaign during this consultation period and state “there are currently no plans for surgery in any future development”.
Chelsea beat 13 rival bids to secure the land, which had been publicly listed for sale by estate agents Knight Frank.
Jonathan Goldstein, co-owner of Chelsea, London-based property developer and CEO of real estate company Cain International, is leading the project on behalf of the club.
Architect Janet Marie Smith was commissioned to design what Chelsea consider one of the best stadiums in Britain.
It is understood the club is yet to approve future stadium plans. Plans to demolish and rebuild Stamford Bridge at its current location or move to a new site will be presented to supporters before being approved by the Boehly-Clearlake ownership group.
The option of rebuilding the stadium stands is increasingly seen as unviable. Rising interest rates and construction costs in the UK present further challenges.
Chelsea Pitch Owners, which owns the full ownership of the Stamford Bridge stadium and the Chelsea FC name, has a veto over any possible move away from the current Fulham Broadway site and would need 75 per cent of its shareholders to accept any potential move.
This unique arrangement was put in place by former Chelsea owner Ken Bates, who offered supporters full ownership of the stadium in order to give them future influence over certain matters relating to the club.
Any move away from Chelsea’s home since 1905 could prove controversial with supporters, who rebuffed former owner Roman Abramovich’s attempts to move the club to powerhouse Battersea in 2012.
A decision to rebuild Stamford Bridge would force Chelsea to seek temporary accommodation, but Twickenham Stadium is reluctant to accommodate them.
Fulham’s Craven Cottage and Wembley are potential alternative options.
The Chelsea plans are subject to obtaining planning permission from Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which could take between 12 and 18 months. Building a new stadium would then likely take at least another five years, but Chelsea hope to move by the end of 2030.