Trinity College has bought the Millennium Dome.
It was announced today that Trinity College has bought the Millennium Dome.
The news comes after months of speculation as to whether Cambridge’s wealthiest college would buy what is now known as London’s O2 Arena.
The College paid £24m for Meridian Delta Dome, a joint venture between the UK’s Lend Lease and Australia’s Quintain Estates, the holder of the O2’s 999-year lease.
By snapping-up the music venue, which was set to host Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” comeback tour over the summer, Trinity is assured the rental income from Anshutz Entertainment Group (AEG), via its under-lease of The O2 Arena.
This rental income is linked to ticket sales and in the last calendar year this amounted to £1.5m. The site on the Greenwich Peninsular is surrounded by 150 acres, which will continue to be owned and managed by Lend Lease and Quintain Estates through the Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration Ltd (GPRL) joint venture.
Rory Landman, Senior Bursar at Trinity College, told The Tab that the purchase was a “pure investment. We bought the long lease and now control the land.
“AEG hold the lease for the next 55 years to operate the Dome, after which they have the option to renew for another 45 years.”
The financing for the transaction came from a loan the College took several years ago which was yet to be allocated to a project.
The O2 was formally put on the market in February of this year at a price of £35m, so it would seem that Trinity has seized a bargain.
Trinity has a long relationship with Bidwells, the commercial property consultancy who brought the opportunity to the College.
In the 1930s, they advised the College to buy the land which is now Felixstowe docks.
The property is an addition to Trinity’s substantial list of rented properties throughout the UK, including a significant number in Cambridge on Trinity Street, Sidney Street and Green Street in the City centre.
Sidney Sussex College holds a long lease from Trinity, who officially own the land.
Landman commented, “It’s rather a peculiar situation: When Trinity was founded [in 1546], we were given the land of the Grey Friars monastery which was dissolved in 1538 and was located where Sidney Sussex now stands.
"The lease still has 500 years to run at a rent of about £1 per year.”
He added that neither he, nor Trinity students would get any benefits, such as free tickets, from the purchase.
A Trinity student told The Tab, “It seems odd the College would spend so much on buying the Millennium Dome when the loos in Whewell’s court are in such a bad state.”