Robert Elstone, chief executive of the Premier League football club, issued a statement on New Year’s Eve reaffirming the club’s ambition to complete its move to a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock in spite of increasing costs.
Elstone said that feedback from supporters had helped inform the concept designs by specialist stadium architect Meis, and that the club needed to “secure a reliable estimate of the project’s total cost and, ultimately, our funding target”.
He continued: “That funding target has escalated significantly and has occupied much of our efforts of the past 12 months. The premium for the waterfront site, an ambitious capacity that we will test with more rigour, a design we can all be proud of and the simple but painful impact of inflation, have all contributed to an increased overall cost and a funding target which continues to grow.”
Elstone added: “Meis has presented the club with outline concept designs. Cost consultants have prepared estimates. Planners are ready to kick off the planning application. And we are moving ever nearer to securing a significant proportion of the funding we will need to build the stadium.”
Under a number of ownerships going back 25 years, Everton has looked at various times to move away from Goodison Park, its historic but heavily constrained home, with the plan to move to Kirkby in alliance with Tesco in 2006 the one that gained most traction.
The Bramley Moore Dock site, within the northern part of Peel’s Liverpool Waters holding, is the latest, but the first since the arrival of majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri. A deal to take over the site from Peel, supported by Liverpool City Council, was agreed last year.
Elstone said: “Whilst the cost and related preparatory works add a one-fifth premium to the cost of the Bramley Moore Dock site, we believe that the commercial returns from naming rights, sponsorship, higher attendances and greater use on non-matchdays will recoup that premium. We are incredibly excited about the opportunities for us at Bramley Moore Dock.”
He added that the project retains the full support of Liverpool City Council, and that “both parties feel we are near to agreeing a framework that works” in funding the scheme. Mayor Joe Anderson took to social media following Everton’s statement to confirm that a deal “that suits the city and EFC financially” is close, adding that as a fan he is “very happy” with the concept designs, which are yet to be revealed.