Everton's plans to relocate from Goodison Park to a brand new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock continue to develop but the cost estimate and the timescale for its opening have changed.
The club have been working on a development that would finally end a 20-year search for a solution to the problems posed by their existing ground for the past year and had hoped to kick off the 2021-22 season by the Mersey.
That time frame has shifted to 2022-23 now and development costs are now projected to be higher than the original £300m estimate due to what CEO Robert Elstone describes as a 20% premium for building on what is a far from routine location.
The dock location chosen for the Blues' new stadium will need to be filled in to provide the footprint for the construction. An “ambitious capacity” will also bump up the price tag of the Bramley-Moore Dock project but the club remain confident they will recoup the outlay though a naming rights deal, further sponsorship, non-matchday revenue and higher attendances than are possible at Goodison Park.
"You will know we recently secured the Bramley Moore Dock site," Elstone wrote in a post to supporters on evertonfc.com where he outlined the progress made on the new stadium. "Meis has presented the Club with outline concept designs. Cost consultants have prepared estimates. Planners are ready to kick off the planning application. And, we are moving ever nearer to securing a significant proportion of the funding we will need to build the stadium.
"Your informal feedback has ... informed the concept designs prepared by Meis needed to secure a reliable estimate of the project's total cost and, ultimately, our funding target.
"That funding target has escalated significantly and has occupied much of our efforts of the past 12 months. The premium for the waterfront site, an ambitious capacity that we will test with more rigour, a design we can all be proud of and the simple but painful impact of inflation, have all contributed to an increased overall cost and a funding target which continues to grow."
Elstone continued to explain that the club "has always had the full support of Liverpool City Council and throughout 2017, we have been totally committed to finding a funding arrangement that works for the Club and the City.
"Once these funding arrangements are secure, we will be able to move forward with more conviction and optimism."
Mayor Joe Anderson sounded that optimism on Twitter later in the day, hinting that he has seen Meis's concept designs and coined a related hashtag to indicate his approval of what he has seen: "I can also confirm that [Liverpool] City Council and Everton are close to reaching an agreement that suits the City financially and EFC," he wrote. "I have also seen the concept stadium designs and as fan #Meisveryhappy indeed."