West Ham United have agreed to sell their Boleyn Ground site to London developer Galliard Group once their move to the Olympic Stadium is complete in 2016.
The club released a statement via their official website on Monday morning, which reads:
Following a competitive bidding process, West Ham United selected Galliard Group as the purchaser for the site ahead of a number of other national and international companies. The Club was impressed with Galliard Group's links to the local community and their commitment to honouring the history of the Hammers at the Boleyn Ground as part of their proposed development.
Galliard's proposals seek to provide new homes and both complementary and innovative ground floor retail and leisure facilities, complete with underground parking. Galliard also plan to undertake discussions with the family of Bobby Moore regarding the proposed development of a beautiful central landscaped garden, which would be named the Bobby Moore Memorial Garden, providing a fitting tribute to the legacy of West Ham United at the iconic site.
Boleyn Ground, or Upton Park as it's often called, has been the Hammers' home for some 110 years, the Premier League outfit having first moved in during 1904.
As one of the most recognisable football grounds in the English game, the move to the Olympic Stadium has a bittersweet air to it, West Ham big move signalling the end of an era.
It's been known for some time that the club's 2016-17 campaign will be played with the Olympic Stadium as their home ground, but confirmation of Upton Park's sale simply helps in rubber-stamping the switch.
The Times' Tony Barrett is among those who were left upset by the latest development:
Just seen that the sale of Upton Park has been agreed. As a proud Luddite I'm gutted. One of my favourite grounds that.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) February 10, 2014
Per the club's statement, West Ham's vice-chairman Karren Brady is quoted as saying of the move:
The deal demonstrates that we have been true to our word by securing the regeneration of two areas of east London through our move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. We are confident that West Ham United fans will be excited about their vision and the way they plan to respect more than 100 years of West Ham history at Upton Park.
As a club steeped in tradition, it's essential that the East London outfit don't lose touch with their roots in making the transition, which is where the club's priorities would seem to lie according to their statement.
With a future now in place for what's to become their former headquarters, West Ham can look forward to beginning a new chapter in their history, though it's one that hasn't come without its share of controversy.