This bit of news fell through the cracks last week, but Chelsea’s bid was chosen by the Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions board of trustees as the preferred bid after a six-month auction process, which means that Chelsea are now (again) just one step away from completing the acquisition of (most of) the land on which the Mansions currently sit.
We might recall that during the previous stadium planning cycle, under Roman Abramovich, Chelsea had agreed a £50m deal with the veterans’ retirement home for the purchase of 60 per cent of their 2-acre lot — presumably the back 1.2-acre half of it, which sits directly between the stadium and the Fulham Broadway tube station — which in turn was going to fund the Mansions’ own plans for renovations (of the rest of the site) as well building additional housing for veterans elsewhere.
When Chelsea shelved and eventually canceled the stadium plans, these purchase plans suffered the same fate as well. So the Mansions decided to put the land up for public auction instead to generate the funds they needed. Thankfully, Chelsea’s new ownership were in place by then, and we submitted a similar bid last October — along with 12 other competing interests.
That bid, reportedly around £50m still, was chosen by the Stoll board of trustees, but will only be officially “accepted” after a nine-week consultation period with the residents, which began last week.
While Chelsea never made it clear, then or now, what we intend to do with this bit of land (which presumably wouldn’t fall under the ownership of the CPO, incidentally), it would most likely help at least in improving the site’s accessibility and exit capacity — two of the limiting factors for building a larger-capacity stadium. It might also open up the site to the possibility of changing the stadium’s orientation by 45-90 degrees.
Of course, we’ve now gone back to the drawing board as far as stadium plans are concerned, so perhaps we have something entirely new in mind. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for all involved.