QPR to begin work on new training ground and launch club bond
Written by Training Ground Guru — September 28, 2021
QPR will begin work on their new training ground in Heston on Friday (October 1st) after the London Borough of Hounslow approved planning permission for it.
Following endorsement from the Mayor of London and Secretary of State, this was the final hurdle the club had faced before beginning work on the site. Financing will come partly from a ‘QPR Bond’ - the details of which will be released on Thursday - while the owners “will be personally covering a significant portion of the cost.”
The financing model is similar to that used by Norwich City when they revamped their Academy in 2018. The Canaries launched a £3.5m five-year bond through a platform run by former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli.
Money raised by the bond, which had a maximum £5m threshold, was ring-fenced to ensure it was invested in facilities at Colney. The bond paid 5% gross interest annually and investors received a one-off 25% bonus when the club was promoted to the Premier League in 2019.
Pitch works at Heston, which will include undersoil heating, will begin on Friday and are expected to take nine months to complete. Work on the new training ground building will start before the end of the calendar year, the club said.
QPR acquired the 27-acre site in December 2020 and it will house their first team, Under-23s and Academy.
CEO Lee Hoos said: “This is fantastic news for the club’s medium and long-term future so I am absolutely delighted, as are the owners.
“Investment in infrastructure, such as a bespoke training ground, is the greatest indication of an ownership which is here for the long term and genuinely believes in the growth of their football club.”
QPR’s new Academy is being delivered by an “expert project team” including planning advisors hgh Consulting, architects Studio Zoppini Architetti and global design engineering consultants Buro Happold.
The west London club have endured a tortuous journey to a new training ground. A decade ago, the club identified Warren Farm in Hanwell as their preferred site for a new training ground and planned to move in at the start of 2013/14.
However, the 60-acre project was beset by legal challenges from local residents and last May the club abandoned plans to move there.
Two years earlier, the Court of Appeal had found in favour of Ealing Council’s decision to grant planning permission to QPR for redevelopment of the site, only for the Hanwell Nature Group to subsequently be granted permission to seek another judicial review.
After that, the club switched their sights to the 27-acre Concorde Centre site in Heston, which is currently home to the club’s Academy. Contracts were exchanged with owners Imperial College last July and the freehold of the site was acquired by the Championship club in December.
The site is more than double the size of QPR’s current Harlington base, which is also owned by Imperial College.