Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Manchester City sign 1bn regeneration agreement

Sportcity site
The council has been hoping to create a significant destination

Manchester City Football Club is at the centre of plans, believed to be worth £1bn, to redevelop a 200-acre site around its Eastlands home.

The scheme will transform one of the poorest areas of the city and create hundreds of jobs.

The club is believed to be planning a training complex on unused land near the stadium as part of the scheme.

It will look into the viability of extending the stadium's current 48,000 capacity as part of the redevelopment.

Manchester City has signed an agreement with the city council and regeneration body New East Manchester to develop the project.

Manchester City has been and always will be at the heart of the community it serves in the city of Manchester
Garry Cook, City chief executive

As well as developing the club's global profile, the focus will be on regenerating the area around its home.

"Manchester City has been and always will be at the heart of the community it serves in the city of Manchester," said City chief executive Garry Cook.

"The longer-term considerations for the area reflect the long term commitment of our owners to the club and the community it serves."

The first phase of the development will involve a market place-style fan zone, on Joe Mercer Way, the current approach to the stadium.

Council leader Sir Richard Leese, New East Manchester chiarman Simon Bate and City chief executive, Garry Cook
Officials signed to agree the deal on Thursday

Further plans are yet to be decided but the proposals tie in with the council's hope to create the "nationally-significant destination" earmarked for the area since the abandonment of the super-casino.

Sir Richard Leese, council leader, said the combined strength of the club and council would act as an "engine of economic growth" in the area.

"From the securing of the Metrolink tram system to the building of world class sporting facilities in and around Sportcity, there has already been real vision in creating a sustainable future for east Manchester.

"The City of Manchester Stadium has also been a credit to the city and this further investment will enable local people who can work to work, will give our young people the best possible start in life and will make east Manchester a place in which to work, invest, live and visit."

A Metrolink stop is set to be incorporated at the Sport City site - to be called Sportcity Stadium - as part of the current expansion of the tram network.

Work on a £19m national BMX centre at the Sportcity site, which will also create jobs and attract visitors, is already under way.

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