Hearts owner wants ‘highest standards’ as Tynecastle upgrade costs hit £18m

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Hearts owner Ann Budge has commissioned extra cash to complete the final phase of Tynecastle Park’s redevelopment.

The total cost of the extensive upgrading project will reach £18m, with Budge stressing she will finish the stadium to the “highest standards possible”.

Hearts opened their new main stand 12 months ago and plan further improvements to fully modernise Tynecastle

Hearts opened their new main stand 12 months ago and plan further improvements to fully modernise Tynecastle

Work will not conclude until well into season 2019/20 as Hearts aim to finalise a major regeneration that will serve the club, Edinburgh businesses and the local community for decades to come.

The £18m total incorporates the cost of the stadium’s plush new main stand, a new piping and heating system, a fans’ bar, dressing rooms, corporate suites and restaurants, the Foundation Plaza, a new £1m hybrid pitch, redevelopment beneath the Wheatfield Stand, plus other smaller improvements in the surrounding area.

The cost of rebuilding the main stand rose from £12m to £15m last year, and Hearts are adding in many extra features to fully modernise their home.

Budge revealed last December that £4.5m had been donated by benefactors towards Tynecastle’s redevelopment. A further £3m came via fans’ cash pledges through Foundation of Hearts.

Hearts owner Ann Budge

Hearts owner Ann Budge

She stressed today that the club have the necessary finances to cope with the increased cost and that they want to leave a special legacy in Gorgie.

“The Tynecastle Redevelopment Project is an all-encompassing one, aimed at improving supporter experience and allowing the club to generate revenue in a variety of ways,” said Budge.

“Once we had the main stand open, we slowed things down because when we fully understood the scale of what we were undertaking, we realised that we had the opportunity to do something really special.

“To do it full justice we wanted to fit it out to the highest standards possible, hence an increased spend on fit-out costs but, as everyone can see, the results are worth it.

“A new structure, with an increased capacity, meant more demands placed upon power supplies and other facilities. We therefore constructed a new plant room underneath the Roseburn Stand undercroft, which will service the stadium’s needs for years to come.

“Of course, it has been well documented that we have invested a considerable amount of money on a new hybrid pitch and the appropriate undersoil pipework that goes with it. This huge outlay falls under the umbrella of the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project and the first-team is already reaping the benefits on the pitch.

“We have also implemented some changes to the original design - and change in projects like this always costs. The most obvious example is the introduction of our Eighteen 74 Supporters Bar. This was not in the original plans. Nor was the Heritage Lounge on the first floor. Nor was the TV studio at the top of the stand.

“The key for me was listening to the supporters and the sponsors, as they too saw what we had, and they too fully realised the potential and asked for more. “We are trying to ensure that what we end up with is what we need and not what we thought we needed when we looked at the original plans in an office in our old admin building some three or four years ago.

“The key objective to me is that our redeveloped stadium meets the needs of our fans and the business needs of the club, such that we can continue to grow and compete as a major force in Scottish football, as a major hospitality and conference destination in Edinburgh and as a major hub for the community.

“Yes, we will spend more in achieving this than originally envisaged, but we will do so confident that we have the financial resources necessary.”

The main stand opened 12 months ago after a two-month delay. It has 7,290 seats and is still being fitted out internally.

Dressing rooms should be finished before next summer. At the moment, home and away players use changing rooms in the Wheatfield Stand.

The Edinburgh club are due to reveal their annual accounts this week ahead of their AGM.