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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 13:36 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.

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.

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.

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.

3 March Bargain hunters spend nearly 3.5m on Millennium Dome memorabilia in a four-day auction of its contents.

Organisers' hopes of raising 5m from the sale were dashed when more than 1,000 high-tech items had to be withdrawn.

1 July Government agency English Partnerships takes over control of the Dome and its sale from the New Millennium Experience Company.

There are reported to be up to 150 expressions of interest in the Dome, but few serious offers.

3 November Britain's richest landowner - the Duke of Westminster - withdraws his bid to buy the Dome because of "the changing commercial and economic environment".

5 December Government embarrassed when it emerges a PR firm has been paid almost 340,000 to promote the image of the empty Dome.

18 December Government expected to say an "exclusive relationship" has been formed with one of three bidders - Meridian Delta - which wants to turn the Dome into a sports and entertainment arena.

Main competing bidders are Wellcome Trust which wants to turn the Dome into a biotechnology centre, and shopping centre developer Tops Estates which has proposed a sports academy.

See also:

18 Dec 01 | UK
Dome buyer found
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