The government has at last done the decent thing and officially rejected the Wellcome Trust’s £1bn bid to create a life sciences and technology park at the 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford.
For various reasons the Trust’s bid – which on so many levels seemed a great solution – has looked like something of a dead man walking for several weeks.
Firstly, Qatari Diar/Delancey’s bid for the Village has impressed the ODA, both in terms of the long-term viability of what is proposed, and the money they are prepared to splash out.
As importantly I think, the OPLC does not think the Wellcome Trust’s bid for the rest of the park represents value for money compared with what it will recoup it it oversees the development over the next 20 or so years. And crucially, the OPLC is now very confident about finding an anchor tenant for the problem media centre in Hackney Wick. Expect the broadcast centre to be developed out for use with a series of end users already signed up. And expect an announcement about this fairly soon too.
Anyway the Wellcome Trust story on CoStar News is here, but click here to see The Guardian’s angry take on it all.
A letter forwarded to the charitable trust by stakeholders in park owner the Olympic Park Legacy Company, including culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and mayor of London Boris Johnson, said the offer did not offer “value for money” for the taxpayer.
Wellcome Trust was bidding for both the £500m-plus Olympic Village, which is being sold by government agency the Olympic Delivery Authority, and the 500-acre Olympic Park, which is being sold by the city hall and central government owned OPLC.
The charitable trust is not prepared to bid separately for either element. The Olympic Park includes a number of key venues in legacy, most significantly the 900,000 sq ft media centre.
Wellcome wanted to use profits from the village to part-fund development of the park as a life sciences centre.
Its offer for the village is understood to be substantially beneath rival shortlisted bids from Qatari Diar/Delancey and Hutchison Whampoa.
In the letter, the government is understood to have asked the Wellcome Trust to retain its interest in the park’s other assets and said it has not ruled out offering a competition for the entire park at a later date.
Peter Pereira Gray, head of investment at the Wellcome Trust, told the Financial Times: “We are disappointed that the opportunity to create our vision for the Olympic Park and the legacy will now not take place. We hope that government and the GLA [Greater London Authority] will get the best deal for Londoners.”