Macfarlanes and LG score roles on QPR’s new stadium bid

Queens Park Rangers (QPR) has turned to Macfarlanes and Lawrence Graham (LG) to advise the football club on its plans to develop a new 40,000-seat stadium in Old Oak.

The new stadium, which would replace its current 18,000-capacity Loftus Road ground, would be a central tenet of a wider regeneration of the Old Oak area in West London.

The football club is working with partners Stadium Capital Developments – an associated company of Stadium Capital Holdings, which invests in and develops urban regeneration projects. The pair have agreed to collaborate with the Greater London Authority and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on the massive project.

The club reportedly expects to seek planning permission towards the end of this year or in early 2015, planning to move into the new stadium for the 2018/19 football season.

Macfarlanes is advising QPR on the deal, led by commercial head Jeremy Courtenay Stamp and head of commercial real estate Ian Nisse.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Graham has been instructed by the club on planning matters, with partner Clare Fielding being assisted by senior associate Nicky Bradbury. David Cooper of planning boutique David Cooper & Co is also advising the football club on the transaction.

London mayor Boris Johnson has backed the wider regeneration project, working with the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Brent and Ealing on plans to develop a residential and commercial area at Old Oak covering several hundreds of acres – larger than Canary Wharf.

The area would generate 50,000 jobs and 24,000 homes, as well as housing a new station – the largest in the country – expected to handle more than 250,000 passengers a day. It would connect to central London in 10 minutes thanks to Transport for London, and to Birmingham and Paris via HS1 services.

If plans go ahead, the area would be redeveloped by 2043, with the station open in 2026.

Background to this deal

In 2011 former QPR shareholder Bernie Ecclestone turned to Withers for advice on the sale of his stake in the club to Malaysian businessman Fernandes. The acquiror instructed a team from Macfarlanes on the matter, led by commercial head Jeremy Courtenay Stamp (19 August 2011). Fernandes has returned to a cohort co-led by the same adviser to advise on the commercial aspects of the stadium deal this time round.

Stadium Capital Developments is an old hand at football stadium regeneration projects, having been involved in the regeneration of Highbury as part of Arsenal Football Club’s move to the Emirates stadium.

The investment and development company has fielded the same team of lawyers as it used on the Arsenal project on its latest endeavour. Clare Fielding advised on the Arsenal project from her former firm Slaughter and May, while David Cooper took a lead role while he worked at Jones Day – taking the planning mandate with him when he left to start his own boutique in 2004 (1 March 2004).