A round-up of the weekend news featuring BAA, Chelsfield, Wembley, Ferrovial and a possible Olympic stadium design
BAA seeks sale of property fund stake to reduce debt
The Times on Saturday said that airport operator BAA is preparing to sell its 50% stake in a £1bn property fund to help reduce debt after its £10.1bn takeover by Spanish contractor Ferrovial. BAA launched the fund with Morley Fund Management in February 2005 and plans to sell the stake later this year, according to The Times.
Chelsfield finance arranger moves out
The paper also reported that Harvinder Hungin, the finance director at developer Chelsfield, had quit the company to set up on his own. The Times said Hungin was the former Hambros and Lazards banker who masterminded the £2.1bn deal to take Chelsfield private and helped founder Elliott Bernerd set up a new business.
It's the fold-away Olympic stadium
The Sunday Times said that the London 2012 Olympic Stadium could be a concertina-style arena designed to shrink and grow as it is adapted for different uses after the Games. The £400m cocoon-shaped stadium, designed by architect HOK, could change shape completely every six to 12 months depending on which events it was hosting.
Ferrovial makes M25 shortlist
The Sunday Times also reported that Spanish contractor Ferrovial has made a shortlist of three for the £5bn widening of the M25 project. Ferrovial has joined forces with its subsidiary Amey and contractor Laing O'Rourke. The other two to be shortlisted by client the Highways Agency were a joint venture between Balfour Beatty, Skanska and Egis Projects, and a third comprising Vinci, Norwest Holst, Autoroutes du sud de la France, Laing Roads, Carillion, Costain, Ringway, Mouchel Parkman and Jacobs.
Increase in London reignites national house price boom
The FT reported on Saturday that London house prices have surged by nearly 10% in the past year driving up property values across England and Wales in spite of August’s interest rate rise. It added that home owners are living far longer in their properties as lower inflation, higher house prices and rising costs of moving are discouraging housing market turnover.
The truth about those iconic buildings: the roofs leak, they're dingy and too hot
The Guardian on Saturday used the occasion of the Stirling Prize that night – won by Richard Rogers’ Barajas Airport in Madrid and covered by all the weekend papers - to launch an attack on the quality of previous winners. A page-three article described how Lords media centre (1999 winner), the Magna Centre (2001 winner) and the Laban Dance centre (2003 winner) all suffered problems including over-heating and flooding.
Eight-year Wembley stadium saga is over at last
The Observer also reported that Wembley will be completed within a few months and will definitely host next year’s FA cup final. Multiplex has previously said the stadium may not be ready until 2010. The paper says that last-ditch negotiations between the FA and Multiplex have resulted in the FA agreeing to pay Multiplex an additional £70m on top of the agreed fixed price of £458m for the 90,000 seat stadium, which will be partly offset by a £35m payment to the client by Multiplex.
Dome super-casino plans rocked by addiction study
Saturday’s Telegraph reported that plans to site Britain’s first super-casino in the former Millennium Dome suffered a blow on Friday after a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers for Greenwich Council warned that it could lead to addictive gambling.
Cleaned up, or cleaned out?
The paper also reported that first time buyers purchasing new build properties in areas targeted for key workers by the Government could find it impossible to insure their homes due to flood risks. Since 2002, nearly 800 housing developments have been built across Britain in high flood risk areas against the advice of the Environment Agency.
Government rejects carbon trading funds' tax break call
The Sunday Telegraph reported that the government has rejected calls for tax breaks to be given to the new breed of investment funds trading carbon emission credits.
Christopher Booker's Notebook
The paper also said that the Radio Four You and Yours programme on Wednesday will discredit the work of Prof John Bridle, an asbestos expert despite pledging its support to his campaign back in 2002. The You and Yours team stood behind Bridle's criticism of the HSE's new asbestos regulations but will now publicly turn its back on him.