Changes to the residential units of the Olympic Village have cut build estimate by 1m ft²

Downscaling at the Olympic Village will see the overall new build cut from four million to three million square foot to help cut costs on the £1bn development.

Olympic Village

ODA chief executive David Higgins told the Public Accounts Committee on Monday that the number of apartments to be built had already been reduced from 4,200 to around 3,300.

But sources close to the project said that figure was now closer to 3,000 apartments, as Lend Lease has formulated a plan to house six athletes in each apartment rather than four.

The net effect of this is that fewer residential blocks will have to be built for the Games, and a total of 1m ft² cut from the original masterplan.

The original layout for the Village apartments would have seen two bedrooms with a living area, bathroom, kitchen and balcony.

Under the new plans, the living area will become an extra bedroom, and the kitchen an extra bathroom.

Athletes will lose their balcony but keep a small communal area.

Each unit will have a new kitchen installed after the Games, with the third bedroom reverting to a living area so that the units can be sold on as two-bedroom flats.

A source close to Lend Lease said: “This has the associated effect of reducing the build cost, but the intention was to make the development as efficient as possible. If we were at the very top of the market then we would still build 4m ft².”

The source added that even with the reduced square footage, the development’s build cost will still be close to £1bn.

Higgins told Building two weeks ago that a funding arrangement with development partner Lend Lease would not be agreed until at least Christmas.

Lend Lease made a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange last month saying that it was having trouble raising equity for the development.

Under the original plans, Lend Lease was to have put up £450m of the Village’s funding, with £550m coming from the public sector. Now, there are fears that the ODA will have to fund the entire development with public money.

An ODA spokesperson said: "The proposed reduction in the total number of homes refers only to the Games-time development.

"Lend Lease has a clear commitment to further developing the Olympic Village site after 2012 to ensure the legacy benefits of the development are maximised.

"The quality of the homes and other components of the Olympic Village, including a new School Academy, remain paramount with a panel of top architects leading the design."