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Jul 5, 2012

Blues' power station plan switched off

Chelsea's hopes of developing a new stadium at Battersea Power Station are over after the Malaysian consortium given preferred bidder status announced the completion of a £400 million deal for the site.

The Champions League winners, who are looking to move to a larger stadium after deciding they could not further develop their 42,000-seat Stamford Bridge home, had submitted a bid for the 39-acre Thames-side location.

In May, the club released details of their proposals for a 60,000-seat stadium encompassing the restoration of the Grade II listed 1930s power station with its four landmark chimneys.

But site administrators Ernst & Young revealed last month that they had shunned the Blues' offer, instead naming the Malaysian consortium as the preferred bidders. That bid has been finalised after a 28-day due diligence process.

"Following a global marketing process that started in February 2012 and covered all major world wealth centres, a consortium comprising SP Setia, Sime Darby and the Employees' Pension Fund of Malaysia have exchanged contracts on the site for £400m,'' a statement said.

The power station site has been the subject of a string of failed regeneration schemes since the 1980s.

Chelsea are considering a move because its limited capacity means they cannot generate the sort of revenue enjoyed by the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, who have much bigger stadiums.

The club had hoped that a switch to Battersea would result in the creation of "one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world". The site came on the market after a £5.5 billion plan by the Irish developers Treasury Holdings collapsed as a result of the worldwide financial crisis.

A Chelsea statement at the time said: "As well as a new home for our club, the development would include a town centre with substantial street-level retail shops, affordable housing and offices - all of which would benefit Wandsworth and bring a significant number of permanent jobs to the area."

Officials said they had definitely not committed themselves to leaving Stamford Bridge, although they also claimed it was not economically viable to redevelop their current home.

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