Once the Olympics are over, all eyes will be on the Games’ legacy. Olympic Park Legacy Company chief executive Andrew Altman says it will be this that will change the face of London
London has a lot to be proud of right now. Not only is the Olympic park virtually complete, but legacy plans are more advanced than they were for any other previous host city.
Following a year of detailed planning, our team at the Olympic Park Legacy Company have moved into delivery mode to begin creating tangible benefits that will make a real difference to people’s lives.
Two remaining venues, the stadium and the press and broadcast centre, are due to finish before the Games. That will give us a full house - a first in Olympic history
Already, 75% of the venues on the park have a secured legacy. The velopark and Lee Valley hockey and tennis centres will be fantastic facilities run by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority; the athletes’ village will be 2,800 flats with Qatari Dari and Delancy purchasing half of them; and next month the OPLC will appoint operators for the aquatics centre, the multi-use arena and the ArcelorMittal Orbit. We are running bidding processes for the two remaining venues, the stadium and the press and broadcast centre, which are due to finish before the Games. That will give us a full house - a first in Olympic history.
While there has been a lot of attention on the stadium, it must be said that its legacy is already secured. Our decision to end the previous process of selling the venue because of the legal paralysis that ensued provided the certainty to win the 2017 World Athletics Championships and ensured that the stadium will reopen in 2014. This new offer is much simpler. The stadium will remain as a public asset, a 60,000-seat venue that will be the new national centre for athletics. We are now looking for additional sporting, cultural and commercial uses to create a multi-purpose venue.
We have also had extensive interest from potential anchor tenants for the press centre and broadcast centre with 10 organisations bidding to take up a minimum of one floor of either building, and in some cases, the whole of the buildings. These anchor tenants will play a key part in creating a thriving new commercial district that creates thousands of jobs and training opportunities, contributing to the dynamic growth of the area.
By making these appointments now, these organisations can work with the OPLC to plan the fit-out and running schedules of the venues, and ensure there is a focus on access, training and employment for local communities. This means these venues will be primed to hit the ground running when the park reopens after the Games.
Likewise, the OPLC has made huge strides in plans to create five new neighbourhoods on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Not only have we submitted our masterplan for 6,800 homes, but we have already shortlisted developers to build Chobham Manor, our first family neighbourhood. Again, by appointing a developer this summer, they will be able to start work on site after the Games so the first of around 800 homes can be ready in 2014.
Anchor tenants will play a key part in creating a thriving new commercial district that creates thousands of jobs, contributing to the dynamic growth of the area
New homes and venues are only part of the package. For the park to be a success it must become a destination; a compelling environment with events and attractions that act as visitor magnets.
We have already announced the winners of two design competitions to create visitor hubs. In the north, we will build a visitor centre and playground. The south plaza will be on a much larger scale. As London’s newest public space, it will be East London’s answer to the South Bank. A 50-acre space surrounded by the stadium, aquatics centre and ArcelorMittal Orbit, that will welcome millions of people to the park.
These will sit alongside a host of other spaces for events and commercial enterprises which could host everything from open air concerts to restaurants and local markets. We will be marketing those areas in 2012.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is unique in bringing these different strands together to create a legacy of new homes, employment and sporting and leisure opportunities. From the moment the 2012 Games close in October, we will be on the park transforming it into a new piece of city that changes the face of London.
Andrew Altman is chief executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company