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Tycoon reveals why he pulled out of Ally Pally

PUBLISHED: 13:23 29 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:21 07 September 2010

THE normally reticent millionaire property tycoon Firoz Kassam has spoken out on why he withdrew from plans to take over Alexandra Palace. The Broadway revealed last week that Mr Kassam had pulled the plug on his company s Firoka s plans to take over the

THE normally reticent millionaire property tycoon Firoz Kassam has spoken out on why he withdrew from plans to take over Alexandra Palace.

The Broadway revealed last week that Mr Kassam had pulled the plug on his company's Firoka's plans to take over the leasehold of the iconic building - and develop it into a luxury hotel complex, with restaurants and a casino.

The former Oxford United owner and millionaire has up until now remained tight-lipped over negotiations.

But on Monday Mr Kassam expressed his frustration that negotiations had stalled since the High Court ruled in October - through no fault of his own - that the consultation process between Firoka and the Trust was flawed.

The judge ruled that a fresh consultation process must be launched because the Charity Commission had failed to make the terms of the lease public.

Mr Kassam said: "Since this time, despite the willingness of Firoka (Alexandra Palace) Ltd to continue with this exciting project, which would have provided fantastic new services and facilities for the community, neither the charity nor council has indicated a willingness to proceed with the consultation process.

"Due to lack of progress and after a long wait Firoka (Alexandra Palace) Ltd has reluctantly been left with no alternative but to withdraw its interest.

"Firoka (Alexandra palace) Ltd is extremely disappointed at the outcome of events, having committed an enormous amount of time, resource and money into this project over the last three years.

"The charity/council is well aware of Firoka's intentions and position and surprisingly has chosen to make no public mention of that."

But Cllr Matt Cooke, chairman of the Trustees, said: "The Firoka Group turned out not to be the partner the Trust had hoped for. A number of financial hurdles, for example, were placed before the charity - including paying Mr Kassam's legal fees, as well as our own - which we were expected to jump over in order to continue negotiations - hardly a partnership approach."

"The Trust will can now begin creating a vision for all of Ally Pally, involving a broad input of views in which people from the local area and beyond can play a part. We have a very exciting few months ahead."

In last week's Broadway, we stated that the Alexandra Palace Trading Company was involved in a business strategy with the developer, Firoka Ltd, when it was in fact the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust. The legal case referred to did not involve the trading company as stated. The judicial review was in fact a decision by the Charity Commission.


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