Newcastle United could potentially increase their revenue to comply with Financial Fair Play rules by purchasing back the land at Strawberry Place.
North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll believes this could be the case following the club’s agreement to buy the long-term lease from developers in 2019.
Newcastle’s recent purchase of the long-term lease on the land sold by former owner Mike Ashley to developers in 2019 was due to the mayor’s refusal to provide £3.5m of public money to the stalled Strawberry Place development.
The scheme could have provided more than 1,700 construction jobs and injected £670m into the regional economy within a decade, but the mayor did not believe it was a good use of public funds.
The absence of affordable apartments in the development plans, which included 328 flats, a 213-room hotel, and an office block, led to the mayor’s decision not to sign off on the proposal.
Despite this, the breakthrough in purchasing the land could enable the club to build a fan zone on site and potentially expand St James’ Park in the long-term, with the Gallowgate End stand being the most ripe for redevelopment.
The mayor is excited by the prospect of a larger St James’ Park if the club’s plans to expand the stadium come to fruition in the years to come.
The owners of Newcastle United are determined to explore all avenues to increase the stadium’s capacity, and the purchase of the land at Strawberry Place could help them achieve this goal.
“It’s great news,” Mr Driscoll told ChronicleLive. “Everyone wants to see St James’ grow. It’s going to help with Financial Fair Play rules, but, also, having a city centre stadium means so much to the fans and it’s a huge deal for our economy, a lot of our pubs and our hospitality industry.
“It’s great for our sustainable travel as well – we’re right there on the Metro. A lot of people are going to move out of town stadiums where people are just stuck in traffic jams two hours before and after the game so it is good news. What it will actually mean about how exactly St James’ expands? Well, that’s for the club to confirm – not me.”