BY YANN TEAR
Fulham Football Club has unveiled plans to brand the projected riverside walkway at the back of its Thameside stadium as Fulham Pier.
The club is in the process of rebuilding the quaint but archaic Riverside Stand, which is now totally demolished, and piling of the riverbed has started.
The idea is that the new stand will sit inside a gleaming new Fulham Pier, which will be open to the general public all year round – with cafes and bars and a wooden boardwalk, making it possible, for the first time, to amble the entire length of the Thames from Hammersmith to Bishop’s Park and Putney.
The project is due for completion by the summer of 2021.
Although the walkway scheme had already been made public, the official rebranding as Fulham Pier this week has given the project extra publicity which could lure potential businesses and tenants wanting to take advantage of the newly-created riverside location.
Fulham owner and chairman Shahid Khan, the billionaire businessman who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars in America’s National Football League, said the idea of Fulham Pier had been his dream from the moment he became chairman in July 2013, succeeding Mohamed Al-Fayed.
In 2014, he obtained a river works licence from the Port of London Authority – one of the potential obstacles to realising the project.
“Never has this stretch of the Thames been brought to life, and its full potential realised, until Fulham Pier,” he said.
“I am confident [it] will be everything that everyone had asked or hoped for, and much more.
“This will be open to all on non-matchdays, providing a picturesque and uninterrupted stroll along the river for the first time ever.
“It will be here that you will find places to eat, drink, meet, exercise, learn new activities, take in special events or simply enjoy the waterfront.
“I envision a vibe that will blend nostalgia with contemporary, always alive, and always respectful of the club, neighbourhood and city.”
He added the new construct would be: “Nothing less than a signature destination befitting our world-class city.”
Fulham’s new Riverside Stand will swell the capacity of Craven Cottage stadium to around 29,600.
The new stand will have 8,650 seats compared to 4,689 in the old stand.
At the moment, only pitch-side dugouts for the managers and substitutes remain of the old stand, along with a temporary TV gantry and there are temporary screens around the building site.
Both the new stand, with river-facing corporate facilities, nine serviced apartments and the new businesses at Fulham Pier, are expected to generate considerable extra revenue for the club.
The club is currently in talks with potential tenants.
Details of the total cost of the project and projected revenues are confidential, the club says.