Partly retractable roof, banqueting hall and more seats help to add £155m to new stadium’s price-tag.
The cost of the new Wembley National Stadium has risen £155m to £475m because of new features including 10 000 more seats, a partly retractable roof and the biggest banqueting hall in London.

However, a spokesman for Wembley National Stadium Ltd said it was confident it could raise the extra money for the additional features using the expected revenue stream as collateral. The Football Association has committed itself to staging 500 events at the stadium, which now has a 90 000 capacity, over the next 20 years.

A project source said the developer was still considering procurement routes ranging from design-and-build to traditional construction contracts for the Foster and Partners and HOK+Lobb-designed stadium.

Tenders for demolition and site clearance will be issued in early 2000, followed by separate shell-and-core and fit-out contracts.

The stadium is due to start on site in September 2000, and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2003.

Contractors in the frame for the project include French giant Bouygues, a consortium of Robert McAlpine and Sydney Olympic stadium contractor Multiplex, Dutch contractor HBG, Amec, Bovis, Laing and Ballast Wiltshier.

The design allows the stadium to be adapted to accommodate an athletics track and 67 000 athletics spectators. This would be done by erecting a 6 m high platform over two-thirds of the lower terrace and pitch to support the track. The cost of converting the stadium for athletics in the event of a successful Olympic bid would be £15m.

However, British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg said a 67 000-seat capacity was not enough to make the stadium into a contender for the Olympic Games, as the minimum seating capacity needed was 75 000.

A project source said the design team was still considering the possibility of increasing the athletics capacity from 67 000 to 80 000 .

The 50 000 m2 partly retractable roof, designed by the Mott Stadium Consortium, features moving panels on the southern edge that can be moved forward in 20 minutes to cover the terraces in bad weather.

The 90 000-seat stadium will also feature:

  • steeply raked seats so fans have better views and more leg room

  • escalator access to the top tiers of the stands

  • a 2000-seat glazed banqueting hall with views of the pitch

  • 10 000 m2 of new offices and a new four- or five-star hotel.

Structural, civil and M&E engineer on the scheme is the Mott Stadium Consortium, which includes Mott MacDonald, its Australian associate Connell Wagner, and engineers Modus and Weidlinger Associates and M-E of Colorado. QS is Franklin + Andrews and planning consultant is Nathaniel Lichfield.

  • In a separate announcement, the government launched a Wembley taskforce to regenerate the area around the stadium. The taskforce will be chaired by Bovis Homes chairman Sir Nigel Mobbs, and will seek to improve transport links and create jobs. Sir Nigel said: “Our focus will be on the 60 acres surrounding the stadium. The development of Wembley must be integrated into a wider regeneration.”