It was revealed recently that the cost for Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, which is set to open in time for the start of the 2018-19 Premier League Season, has nearly doubled in price . According to the Evening Standard, the cost of Tottenham’s new home has increased twofold to £800m, up from the original £400m projection when the stadium project was first green-lit in 2010.
Club director Donna Cullen, in an email to a Spurs supporter inquiring about the cost increase, has placed some of the blame on the price increase to England’s exit from the European Union, and to general rising costs over time.
“Brexit has added a straight 20 per cent on costs for foreign goods due to the exchange rate, overtime working and increased construction costs similarly.
“It is worth remembering that the original cost quoted for the stadium (£400m) was some seven years ago. This new ‘estimated’ figure (£800m) relates predominantly to the stadium with some elements of substructure for the other builds, particularly the Tottenham Experience.
“Revised basement works also added to the cost. We are constantly managing costs and will continue to do so throughout the process along with funding plans to ensure the viability of the scheme.”
In the comments to an article a while back, a couple of sharp-eyed Carty-Free readers (whom I can’t remember at the moment) first noted out the increase in construction costs. I suggested that the larger number might have been the total cost of the entire scheme, which includes the low-income housing buildings nearby the stadium site, the Sainsbury’s supermarket, and other related projects in the Northumberland Development Project.
That doesn’t appear to be the case, as Cullen’s email implies that the cost is more or less for the stadium only. While the factors that Cullen mentions could have an impact, I really can’t say whether they are enough account for the price of the project doubling in seven years.
However, I also can’t help but also wonder whether the transition from a football-only stadium to one that will also host (and eventually house) NFL teams may have also factored into the rising cost. Spurs’ retractable grass pitch is state-of-the-art technology unlike any stadium in the world, and while the potential benefits of an arrangement with the NFL will pay dividends long term, it no doubt costs a lot of money to implement.
The rising construction costs could partly explain the leaked email from Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that emerged a couple of weeks ago. In that letter, Levy expressed anger and frustration with Haringey Council and Mayor of London officials and their failure to follow through with proposed public funding.
Increasing costs for a construction project of this size are common. I don’t get the sense that the club is near any sort of crisis point with the rising cost of the stadium, despite Levy putting pressure on local government for promised funding. I do find blaming Brexit a little curious, as it implies that the club (or more precisely Mace, the construction company hired by the club) was utilizing imported materials and labor from outside of the UK to keep construction costs down. That’s probably not going to go over well with a subset of English football fans.
That said, everything I’m reading implies that despite a few expected hiccups along the way and the overall rising cost of the project, Tottenham’s new stadium is still on track to open on time in two years, and that Spurs officials are working as hard as they can to keep the club in a healthy financial position.