QPR have unveiled their plans for the total transformation of the Old Oak area, which will include a 40,000-capacity stadium the club hope to move to in 2018.
They made the announcement after support from all the major bodies required – the Greater London Authority (GLA), relevant local authorities, Network Rail and the influential Genesis Housing Group – was confirmed.
Titled ‘New Queens Park’, the project involves a Canary Wharf-style regeneration of a huge area of west London – the type of which has always been a key motivation for QPR’s Malaysian owners, fronted by chairman Tony Fernandes.
Rangers’ announcement comes after many months of discussions with the GLA – who are expected to publicly back the proposals on Friday – and the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent and Ealing.
About 24,000 new homes are likely to be built as part of the regeneration and the club say at least 50,000 jobs will be created.
Loftus Road, Rangers’ home for most of the last century, will be turned into flats as part of a revamp of the area that includes the White City Estate.
Fernandes said: “Loftus Road is – and always will be – a special place for the club and our supporters, but we need more than an 18,000 capacity.
“With no option of expanding here, we have to look elsewhere and we welcome the Mayor’s and Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s commitment to regenerate the area, which includes an option to develop a new stadium at Old Oak as a key catalyst to bring forward redevelopment, cementing our future in this part of west London.
“Not only will this give us a top-quality stadium to cater for QPR’s needs as the club progresses and grows over the years ahead, but we are very excited about being the driving force behind creating one of the best new urban places in the world.
“This will be the catalyst for the regeneration of a forgotten area – ultimately bringing new transport, 24,000 homes and at least 50,000 jobs.
“It will create a vibrant new destination in London, boosting local businesses, attracting new visitors and tourism and creating a thriving community.”
QPR have partnered with Stadium Capital Developments (SCD) and entered into exclusive land arrangements with Network Rail and other landowners who control major parts of Old Oak.
A letter of collaboration – a formal letter of intent – has been drawn up, with all parties affirming to press ahead with the project as quickly as possible.
The club expect to seek formal planning permission towards the end of next year or early in 2015, with a view to moving to the new complex for the start of the 2018-2019 season.
Club chief executive Philip Beard said: “We look forward to working with the Mayor and local authorities and we will, of course, be consulting our loyal and passionate supporters, as well as the local community, on our exciting plans early next year.
“Loftus Road is renowned for its atmosphere and with the help of our supporters, replicating that at our new stadium will be one of our top priorities.”
The Fernandes-led regime’s plan to build a commercial, housing and leisure hub has always largely hinged on the successful implementation of Crossrail and HS2, the planned high-speed railway that is set to go through the area.
The two lines are likely to converge at Old Oak and London Mayor Boris Johnson recently declared that transforming it into a world-class city quarter – a so-called Mini Manhattan – was a priority.
The HS2 Growth Taskforce is meeting on Friday to discuss the issue and its chair, Lord Deighton, said: “We welcome QPR and Stadium Capital Development’s commitment to the regeneration plan at Old Oak.
“Delivering modern transport infrastructure such as HS2 and Crossrail can be a catalyst for regeneration in London. The government looks forward to working with key stakeholders on this.”
And David Biggs, property director at Network Rail, said: “We are pleased to be involved and able to support this exciting regeneration project along with QPR and SCD to unlock the potential of this challenging, railway-dominated site.”
John Carleton, executive director of markets and portfolio at Genesis, said: “We are very pleased to be involved in this exciting regeneration project.”