Doubts grow over plans for £385m scheme as talks with regeneration developer Igloo cease
Talks between the developer of the Olympic media centre and the Olympic Delivery Authority have been suspended, leaving the original plan for a 1.3 million ft2 building in tatters.
According to a source close to the situation, discussions with regeneration developer Igloo to work up plans for the £385m media centre have halted while the ODA weighs up moving part of the scheme – the press office – to Westfield’s £4bn Stratford City.
It is understood that the ODA has been in negotiations with Transport for London (TfL) to become a tenant of the nearby Stratford site after the Games, providing Westfield with a long-term guarantee of occupation.
The news comes after it emerged last week that the ODA is considering replacing the Igloo scheme, designed to provide a legacy of 8,000 jobs in the area, with a largely temporary building.
A source close to the situation said: “The ODA has withdrawn its documents from Igloo. The relationship hasn’t been finally terminated, but it’s on hold.”
The ODA announced it had signed up Igloo, with contractor Carillion, as the developer of the media centre in July. It said at the time: “The consortium will transform the media hub into quality mixed-use office and business space after the Games.”
Since then, the worsening financial situation has affected several Olympic projects, most notably the 2,870-home athletes’ village, leaving the ODA looking to reduce costs. Two separate sources said this week the ODA had been talking to TfL about turning a press office in Stratford City into offices after the games.
The ODA said: “We are continuing to review our plans for the media centre.”
The news comes as John Armitt, the ODA chair, this week said the body had funding from the Treasury until March to continue building the Olympic village. After that it will have to find private funding or seek further finance from the Treasury.