West Ham Football Club has been ranked the highest bidder for the Olympic Stadium, although significant hurdles remain on funding and final permissions.
The London Legacy Development Corporation said the deal will require the club’s owners to share profits should they choose to sell up, and is also dependent on the “resolution of issues” relating to funding and planning permission.
While final details are ironed out with West Ham, the LLDC said it will also explore a “non-football option” for the stadium by pursuing “a detailed plan… that would allow the stadium to be brought back into use as soon as possible”.
The LLDC will seek a contractor for the work, which could see the stadium opened for events as early as the summer of next year.
LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone said: “If we are to have a football tenant, West Ham and other parties will need to meet the conditions that the board has set out.
“If a deal is not possible then we will bring the stadium back into use as soon as possible. In any event we are exploring options to hold events in summer 2013.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson added: “My position on the future of the stadium remains what it has always been: that we can secure a terrific future for this much-loved and iconic venue with or without a football team playing there.
“I hope the detailed negotiations with West Ham can succeed, but I am determined that any deal should protect the interests of taxpayers who have paid for the stadium and would have to pay more for adaptations to make it suitable for football.”
The LLDC and Mr Johnson are concerned that the stadium will significantly raise the value of West Ham, and want taxpayers – not only club owners David Gold and David Sullivan – to benefit from any profits.
The stadium could cost as much as £150 million to renovate and much of the money will come from public funding, including a £40m loan from Newham Council.
West Ham is expected to contribute £15m, but is offering £2.5m a year in rent plus a share of commercial proceeds.