54. A new domesticity
Although it may have initially seemed an awkward obstacle, the Grade II-listed status of the East and West Stands may have ended up helping Arsenal financially.
Retaining the outward appearance of the old ground maintained an aesthetically acceptable continuity to the neighbouring streets – and indeed as architecture critic Rowan Moore has pointed out, allowed the construction of more apartments in a taller block than the planning department may otherwise have allowed in the relatively low-rise streets of Highbury.
It cost Arsenal £130m to build the 650 apartments of Highbury Square, ranging in price from £250,000 to £1.5m. Housing-market worries after the 2008 global financial crisis caused the club some concern, and 150 properties were sold off to a developer at a 20% discount after some buyers failed to complete their purchases, but Highbury Square cleared its debts to the club by 2010.