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East Midlands Chamber News

£4.8m sports arena to open at the end of January

The end of January 2016 will see the opening of the new state-of-the-art £4.8m multi-purpose community sports arena located at 31 Charter Street, Leicester.

While the state-of-the-art arena will be the new home of the Leicester Riders basketball club, anchor tenants for the arena, and used by the Leicester Cobras wheelchair basketball team, it will also be open to the general public and Leicester College as a multi-use facility.

The project is a joint venture between the Leicester Riders, Leicester City Council and Chamber member Leicester College and occupies a site just over one hectare.

Charter Street has around 200 years of industrial heritage and was formerly part of a gas works, meaning that the land was contaminated.

Therefore, before the arena construction began, a remediation strategy was agreed with the Environment Agency and the City Council.

Arena construction started in April 2015, and the project remains on schedule and within budget.

Due to the size of the project, an experienced local law firm, Edward Hands & Lewis Solicitors, was brought on board to ensure that the legal work was carried out properly.

The EHL corporate team negotiated the lottery funding agreement with Sport England (the English Sports Council) so that the project could go ahead with sufficient finance. And the firm's commercial property team liaised with the City Council to make sure the lease was appropriate and all necessary associated contracts and covenants were in place, and also carried out an in depth due diligence investigation to check that the property title rights were clarified.

Kevin Routledge the Project Director for the Arena, said: “We are delighted with the progress of the project, which is a testament to many contributors and contractors. Working on brownfield sites poses unique challenges but we have managed to work through the remediation, and the construction has gone very smoothly.”

“I am delighted with the support we received on the legal side from EHL, who worked extremely well with the legal team in the Council and Sport England. The site has a complex ownership history and the EHL team support was critical to addressing these points to the satisfaction of everyone.”

Jenna Mistry, Commercial Property Solicitor, said: “While we are already official sponsors of Leicester Riders, it was great to be involved with such an exciting project, providing legal support for Leicester Community Sports Arena Limited (LCSAL), acting effectively on behalf of collaboration between the Riders, Leicester City Council and Leicester College.

"The new community sports arena is big news for Leicestershire and the local community and we are privileged that we got to do our bit to help.”

The Arena management company LCSAL is owned by the charity, the Leicester Riders Foundation, and all surpluses from Arena operation will be re-invested in the arena or used on projects aimed at deprived local communities, something that the Leicester Riders are already successfully doing through the Foundation.