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Headingley development funding partner revealed

Headingley development funding partner revealed

Legal & General has been revealed as the funding partner for the new stand project at Headingley football and cricket grounds

The football stand is a double-sided stand that faces the cricketing arena one way and the rugby pitch the other, and is being replaced as part of extensive redevelopment work, providing better spectators facilities for fans of both sports. 

Costing £60 million in total, the project has faced funding problems as rugby league club Leeds Rhinos were unable to sell land they owned for housing. However, a mystery partner emerged with £35 million in March to ensure the construction project could go ahead. 

It has now been revealed it was Legal & General who came up with the pledge, with the company now confirming its investment. It will lease the new stand to the City Council over a 42-year period, which in turn will collect rent from the two sporting clubs. 

Work on demolishing the old football stand began after the conclusion of the England vs West Indies Test match, which took place in late August. The new stand should be in place by 2019, when the venue will host matches in the Cricket World Cup. This and other major events will be big money-spinners that will help secure a big return on the investment. 
Legal & General already has several property investments in the city with a combined value of £600 million including the Headingley scheme. 

The cricket ground has undergone extensive redevelopment in recent years, with the latest development all but completing its transformation. Major features include the pavilion and media centre at the Kirkstall Lane End, which also includes teaching facilities owned and used by Leeds Metropolitan University. 

Headingley has required updating to ensure it can go on hosting international cricket, with other traditional grounds also being updated. Competition for big matches has increased with the introduction of three new Test match venues since 2003 at Cardiff, Southampton and Chester-le-Street. Of these three, only the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff was established as a big match venue through the redevelopment of an existing ground.

Image: YCCC


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