Any fears that this Friday’s looming deadline for bids for the 2012 Broadcast and Media Centre in Hackney Wick would be met by a worrying lack of credible interest can be roundly dismissed.
I can reveal that the consortium, backed by Resolution, that is bidding to create a “UK Fashion Hub” within the 940,000 sq ft centre has been busy behind the scenes enlisting a raft of interesting parties, more of which are likely to emerge over the coming days.
One name I can divulge is Harry Platt’s Workspace, the listed flexible workspace provider with a £733m property portfolio, which has agreed to develop around 150,000 sq ft of offices for small-to-medium sized businesses as part of the Resolution-backed consortium’s plans for the 940,000 sq ft centre.
The company would be the bid team’s second largest anchor after Brandboxx, which will operate a 200,000 sq ft B2B fashion centre for buyers and sellers and a 90,000 sq ft B2B sports fashion centre.
Resolution has already announced a series of partners that it has assembled as part of plans to create a “world-class hub for the UK fashion design and manufacturing industry” post Games.
The proposals currently split into a series of elements including the Brandboxx space, a 450,000 sq ft broadcast centre operated by TCN, a 41,000 sq ft manufacturing centre operated by FashionCapital, a 9,000 sq ft fashion museum and a 68,000 sq ft “apprentice-style” hotel operated by Training for Life.
However, I can reveal that alongside Workspace a series of other parties have subsequently joined the consortia.
A global professional hair brand has also agreed to take space with a long term aim of developing a centre of excellence and an academy for hair and beauty training while one of London’s leading educational institutions has agreed to anchor space set aside for what is being called DIG or the Design Innovation and Growth centre. DIG will offer the UK’s most advanced space for 3D and 2D printing as well as body, foot and hand scanning.
Separately, Fashion Antidote has signed to create a training facility in “grass roots” textiles while the UK Fashion & Textiles Association has agreed to take a satellite office to support “internationalisation” for UK fashion. An undisclosed Scottish textile manufacturer has also agreed to take permanent show space.
Finally Eden Studio has joined the consortium proposing to create a training facility teaching corsetry and bridal skills, along with high-end tailoring. It is anticipated that the facility will have up to 50 trainees at any one time alongside 1,000 sq ft of manufacturing on site.
Capita Symonds has been retained by the UK Fashion Hub team to assist with the project management, town planning and conversion works required to bring these buildings to life in legacy use.
Paul Clark, development director at Capita Symonds, said: “Capita Symonds has over 120 man years’ experience on the Olympic Park and we are delighted to working on this exciting proposal.”
A spokesman for the consortium said it had been overwhelmed by parties keen to sign up to its proposals and added that it would have “no problem” at all filling the space, despite the long-running white elephant fears that have dogged the centre.
He added that by grouping some of the manufacturers “we will be able to offer savings by sharing the most innovative and expensive machinery and we will also offer real jobs for local people”.
That all sounds good for Hackney I must say. Better still I am reliably informed that at least two more serious developer consortia are likely to bid on Friday.
To encourage interest, the OPLC, advised by CBRE, published a list of 21 potential occupiers last week that have indicated interest in moving to the centre post Games.
Among these Trumans is looking to take 20,000 sq ft for a brewery and pub, Channel 5 wants to take more than 20,000 sq ft of space for studios, archives and post-production, and UCL alongside Loughborough University wants to develop a Cell Therapy Technology & Innovation Centre of more than 80,000 sq ft. The Institute of Black Culture, Media, and Sport is looking to introduce an education, training, and sport facility of 50,000 sq ft.
In terms of potential bidders to buy and develop the centre, CoStar News revealed in September that the BBC had dropped plans to move its Eastenders production to the centre.
CoStar also revealed that sports retail giant Decathlon is proposing a sporting retail hub, centre and academy at the site, and Spanish company Micropolix, which specialises in theme parks for children, is set to bid.