Estimated cost of the new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock on the city’s waterfront is around £500m and the Mayor has said the council will borrow two-thirds of the cash and will profit from the deal. Tony McDonough reports
Everton FC’s proposed new stadium on Liverpool’s waterfront has moved a step closer to reality after Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson confirmed the council will lend the club £280m towards the £500m cost.
Mayor Anderson confirmed the arrangement on Wednesday insisting the cash-strapped city will profit to the tune of up to £175m over the next 25 years and boost public services.
State bodies such as local authorities can borrow money at interest rates significantly lower than those available to private companies and the deal would see the council borrow the £280m and hand it over to Everton.
The club would pay back up to £7m a year giving the council a healthy profit. The Mayor also said building the stadium at Bramley Moore Dock, part of Peel’s £5.5bn Liverpool Waters site, would offer a massive boost to the city region’s economy.
However, Everton, and its billionaire majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, would still have to find the balance of the cash to fund the project. The original projected cost of the arena was £300m but the club’s chief executive Robert Elstone admitted last week that figure was likely to rise significantly.
Early last year the council announced that it was prepared to act as guarantor so that Everton could borrow the money directly. But following discussions between the club and the authority that situation has now changed.
There has already been significant criticism of the deal from people on social media but Mayor Anderson insists the arrangement, which is subject to council approval was a win-win for the city.
“I’m not doing a deal that doesn’t benefit the city. I’m Mayor of Liverpool first and and Everton fan second,” he said. “Instead of a lender getting the profit and LCC acting as securitor, we provide the loan, we get security and a plan that means we’ve got guarantees so we cannot lose.”
The council would get priority on some of the club’s lucrative revenue streams including sponsorship deals, TV rights cash and season ticket sales. It could also in include a big slice of any parachute payments in the Event of Everton being relegated from the Premier League.
The Mayor stressed the loan would not impact in any way on essential council services and claimed anyone who said otherwise was “living in cloud cuckoo land”.
However, Cllr Richard Kemp, the Liberal Democrat opposition leader on the council, added: “The council simply does not have the legal, commercial or financial expertise to deal with huge private sector projects such as this.
“We obviously have yet to see the details but the figures quoted to date seem to ignore the additional £100m which will need to be spend on the transport and other infrastructure needed before the stadium could be used.”