The Olympics have been a somewhat contentious issue in this country since the announcement that London had won the bid. Many argue that during a time of economic instability, spending a small fortune on erecting world-class stadiums and other facilities is simply a waste of the taxpayer’s money. This, obviously, leads to the question of what will happen to these multi-million pound commercial properties once the world’s athletes have vacated the capital city.
Last Friday, the deadline for investors keen to take over the Olympic Park’s press and broadcast centres, and today the shortlist of the top three proposals was revealed. The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) announced that bids from iCity, UK Fashion Hub and Oxylane Group had passed the initial stage of the decision making process, and would be subject to further discussion during the course of the year, with the eventual tenant to be chosen by summer.
The buildings in question overall offer around 1 million sq ft of commercial space, which the OPLC hope can be developed in order to create mass long-term employment in London’s run-down East End.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is said to be delighted at the enthusiasm shown by investors already, and in a statement to the press said: “It means we can now look forward to the Summer Games with confidence that our park is on course to become that thriving, vibrant and prosperous new district we have all been striving for.”
The Oxylane Group’s proposal includes plans for mixed leisure and events space, plus a retail section designed to maximise the space’s profitability. This is thought to indicate a large sports store to appeal to those visiting the centre for leisure purposes.
Meanwhile, iCity plans to install a separate innovation centre, aimed at higher education institutions with a view to promoting British technology. This would work closely with the main business property, which would have a cloud computing centre, facilities for graphic designers and digital education, and research labs which would aim to advance the technical output of the country.
UK Fashion Hub’s design focuses largely on education, using one of the buildings to launch its fashion college. Furthermore, the rest of the space would be utilised creatively, with a base for online retailing and office space designed to appeal to wholesalers, international entrepreneurs and the creative and media industries.
Chief Executive of the OPLC, Andrew Altman, said: “The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is already generating a huge amount of commercial interest and the calibre of our shortlist is a testament to that.
“We will now go through their proposals in fine detail to make sure that they can deliver a successful ongoing legacy that will stimulate future commercial interest.
“Today’s milestone is yet another example of how London is further ahead in legacy planning than any previous host Olympic city.”
The three successful companies were chosen from a list of 45, from diverse sectors including education, media and retail.