Colin Chong, Everton’s recently-appointed stadium development director, has revealed that the project to build a state-of-the-art venue at Bramley-Moore Dock will bolster the local economy by £1bn.
Everton appointed Chong, a construction industry specialist, to the role in August and he will oversee the club’s delivery process for the new stadium along with the Goodison Legacy Project.
In a blog post on Everton’s website, Chong discussed a range of topics, including the new stadium’s capacity, funding for the project and fan consultation.
Chong wrote that the stadium development and the legacy project at Everton’s current home, Goodison Park, would act as a “catalyst to regenerate the whole of north Liverpool” and create around 15,000 jobs in the process. Chong also pointed to the knock-on effects the stadium would have in kick-starting the Liverpool Waters and Ten Streets developments.
“The transformation to the city will be on a remarkable scale – and that transformation will be beamed across the globe every time we play a home match,” Chong said. “I’m sure there will be no better backdrop to a stadium in the country. From a marketing perspective alone, the increased media focus afforded to both the club and the city cannot be underestimated.
“Everton is a club I have had an affinity with for more than 30 years and it means so much to me to hold this once-in-a-lifetime position for what I already feel will be the highlight of my career.
“I’ve been involved in construction-related projects for more than 35 years, mainly around new stadium development or redevelopment of existing grounds, and have experience which includes the Commonwealth Games stadium in Manchester, Manchester United quadrants project, the JJB Stadium (now DW Stadium) and, of course, major developments at Goodison Park. I have also delivered other major construction projects, including retail and hospital developments.”
Chong also applauded Everton supporters for their input, describing fan consultation as “critical” to the process. More sessions will be held in the future to discuss plans for the new stadium and Goodison Park.
The capacity of the new stadium has yet to be finalised and Chong said the club is carrying out feasibility studies and working with industry experts to assess the ground’s optimum capacity. “It is a lot more complex than just picking a number that feels right,” Chong said.
Chong also discussed the “complex” nature of funding for the project. “We have a number of options available to us. Liverpool City Council is one of those options and there are other opportunities we are exploring too. Any deal we do will be the best deal for Everton Football Club.
“Moving forward, we will be doing more engagement with all stakeholders, including our supporters. We will also be issuing a travel survey that will be going out in the next few weeks and publishing a project website that will keep everybody informed on our progress.
“The planning application will be submitted at the earliest opportunity and will be complete and thorough. It will be a full planning application and, therefore, we need to make sure that everything in it is absolutely correct. This, too, is a complex process. We’re reliant on third parties and a lot of the work simply can’t be rushed.”
Image: Ben Sutherland