Labour Party donor and chartered accountant Robert Bourne tonight won his battle to redevelop the Millennium Dome as a hi-tech campus after the government awarded his bid preferred status.
The millionaire property developer is next February set to be awarded the deal to develop the troubled site into a hi-tech campus despite losing out to rival developer Japanese bank Nomura in August.
The government revealed its decision today in a Parliamentary written answer from Hilary Armstrong, Minister for Local Government and the Regions.
Armstrong said: ‘Legacy has been awarded preferred bidder status because they have confirmed that they will resolve all outstanding contractual issues within an agreed timetable.’
Normura pulled the plug this September on its £105m plan to turn the troubled Greenwich attraction into a theme park after a PricewaterhouseCoopers report raised serious doubts over the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) accounts.
Legacy is likely to pay around £125m to the government for the Dome, with at least £50m in advance – £25m less than its original bid that lost to Normura’s smaller cash bid.
Government officials have opted for Bourne’s package despite the chance of generating more money by selling the site and demolishing the Dome.
Last week Legacy threatened to withdraw its deal as Cabinet committee discussion delayed discussions.
The National Audit Office this month criticised the NMEC directors for unrealistic management which brought the site close to insolvency.
Financial troubleshooter David James took control of finances from NMEC FD Neil Spence in September.
The Legacy package will create 14,000 jobs in three years by building a silicon valley-style e-business park to be known as Knowledge City in London.
Armstrong said: ‘Negotiations will continue and if all goes well we expect to exchange contracts during February. Progress will be reviewed regularly.’