Work will start on the development straight after this year’s festival finishes at the end of next week.
The Jockey Club has secured all £45m funding required for what amounts to its largest-ever single capital investment project, including nearly £25m raised through The Jockey Club Racecourse Bond – the first retail bond in British sport. The remaining £20m has been secured through a combination of bank financing, a Levy Board capital fund loan, commercial deals and available cashflow from trading.
The development will create a new grandstand alongside Cheltenham’s existing main grandstand. As well as new facilities, viewing areas, private boxes and royal box, there will be elevated walkways constructed to make it easier for spectators to get around. There will also be a multi-tiered ‘amphitheatre’ around the parade ring.
Preparation works began last summer with the removal of the 1920s A&R block of boxes, replaced for the duration of the 2013/14 season by a temporary structure.
Kier previously built the £17m Centaur building at the course, which is one of the largest events spaces in the southwest of England.
Ian Cheung, managing director of Kier Construction’s central operations, said: “It is a challenging project, but we will work hard to ensure that throughout the works the impact on the racing calendar is kept to a minimum. Our racecourse team all live locally and are looking forward to delivering this fantastic facility for The Jockey Club and Cheltenham.”
Ian Heeley, Kier’s contracts manager for the project, added: “We are delighted to secure this contract after many months of hard work and are thoroughly looking forward to working with the client team, the designers and our local supply chain to deliver high quality new facilities at Cheltenham Racecourse. There is a real buzz around the whole team involved in this project as we prepare to begin operations on site, following The Festival.
“It is a real privilege for me to have the opportunity to lead the team on this high profile construction project, especially as it is in my home town. The Kier project team all live locally and we understand the importance of the racecourse and The Festival to our local economy and community.”