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Thursday, 15 February, 2001, 13:33 GMT
Dome bidding chronology
Dome at night
BBC News Online takes a look at the Millennium Dome bidding process.

2000

16 January The government unveils a list of six proposals for the Dome site, after its closure.

They include a 400m theme park promising more fun rides than Disneyland Paris and a major sports stadium, with Charlton Athletic as possible tenants.

The six projects were selected by the government from a list of 10 outline proposals.

16 May Lord Falconer announces the shortlist for the Dome has been whittled down to two, Nomura and Legacy.

27 July Lord Falconer announces the government is to sell the Millennium Dome and surrounding land to Dome Europe, a consortium led by Japanese bank Nomura for 105m.

The company plans to turn the Dome, which cost 758m to build, into a hi-tech leisure attraction based on the theme of Europe.

Nomura fought off competition from Legacy, which had its own plans for a "silicon valley" in Greenwich.

7 September Tory leader William Hague calls for the Dome to be closed immediately and Lord Falconer to resign.

12 September Nomura announce they are pulling out of the deal to buy the troubled attraction.

The bank says it cannot go ahead because it has been refused access to the Dome's accounts.

20 November Legacy, the last remaining bidder, is granted preferred status by the government.

The consortium, headed by Robert Bourne, plans to turn it into a high-tech business park which could create thousands of jobs.

It has bid 125m for the Greenwich site, with 50m upfront and the rest in instalments.

31 December The Dome's year-long exhibition closes.

2001

6 January Labour confirms Legacy chief Robert Bourne had donated 100,000 to the party but point out the money was pledged before the Dome was even built.

8 January The government's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, confirms it is looking into the proposed sell-off of the Millennium Dome after allegations of cronyism.

9 January Mr Bourne predicts he will make a profit from the Dome site within three years.

16 January In a written Commons reply, Culture Secretary Chris Smith assures Parliament that the bidding process was fair. He confirms Mr Bourne had donated around 6,000 to his own Islington South constituency Labour Party.

25 January The former head of the Millennium Dome, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, tells the BBC he is ready to buy the attraction.

Mr Gerbeau says he has a consortium in place to take over the Dome if the Legacy bid falls through.

He says he plans to keep some of the attractions but turn the central area into an entertainment arena, capable of staging major sporting and musical events.

30 January Legacy denies claims in The Times newspaper that it has failed to find any takers for the space to be rented.

The paper casts doubt on Legacy's claims to have arranged deals with the Open University and US computer giant, Sun Microsystems.

3 February The chief executive of Irish property company Treasury Holdings, which is reportedly putting up 80% of the 125m Legacy bid, says he is confident the deal will still go through.

On the same day the UK's richest property owner, the Duke of Westminster, indicated his interest in obtaining the Dome site.

13 February The Legacy consortium says it has a new backer, property developer Teesland Group. On the same day the government announce it is considering extending its deadline.

14 February The government is criticised for "mishandling" the sale of the Dome by Mr Gerbeau.

He calls on ministers to reopen the bidding process for the sale of the Greenwich site and says the danger of a fast, cheap deal with Legacy could leave the government with a mess akin to the state of the railways after privatisation.

15 February Legacy loses its preferred bidder status. The government says fresh bids will be invited in a new competition but says Legacy can continue to be involved.

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