Media centre bidders beef up for final strait

French retailer Decathlon has teamed up with UK Fashion Hub to become one of the two remaining bidders to redevelop the London 2012 international broadcast and press centre post Games, while Loughborough University is backing rival bidder iCity I understand.

The jostling among the interested parties in the centre appears to have come at the behest of the Legacy company and means that there are two fairly formidable bids left on the table – great news for Hackney Wick and the overall regeneration of the Olympics area.

Decathlon, which is owned by Oxylane the privately owned French company that wants to commit £1bn to develop around 30 villages across the UK over the next 10 years, and Loughborough had been bidding together as the Oxylane Group.

They were proposing to take up long leases for both buildings which in total offer around 1m sq ft of commercial space and develop a sports-orientated mixed-use offer.

The Broadcast Centre would have become ‘Oxylane Village’, offering leisure, events space, research and education and retail including a major Decathlon store. The Press Centre would have been used as office space and a technology centre.

Final bids were due in this Wednesday from Oxylane and rival bids from UK Fashion Hub and iCity. However, CoStar Newsrevealed last week that Oxylane had pulled out.

Decathlon and Loughborough have been encouraged instead to back the other two remaining bidders. Loughborough University is understood to be prepared to work with both bids.

The London Legacy Development Corporation aims to appoint the tenant this summer with the buildings available for fit out and opening from spring 2013.

The shortlisted bids are now:

• iCITY – an ‘Innovation City’ anchored by Infinity and in partnership with Loughborough with the Broadcast Centre accommodating a cloud computing centre, research labs, post production, graphic designers and digital education. The Press Centre would become an innovation and research centre with links to higher education that would showcase British technology. Loughborough would take space at the press centre to provide up to 1,000 Loughborough students with a teaching and research campus.

• UK Fashion Hub – a dedicated centre that will combine the fashion and textile manufacturing sectors to create a destination for wholesalers, buyers and the creative industries. Headed by Resolution and anchored by Brandboxx and Workspace Group, the bid is now also supported by Decathlon. It involves the Broadcast Centre becoming a fashion centre with offices, an incubator, manufacturing and creative uses. The Press Centre would become a fashion college, a fashion e-tailing centre and a media centre.

CoStar News revealed in September of last year that the BBC had shelved talks to anchor the centre with its EastEnders production at the last minute.

The Broadcast Centre will offer 95,000 sq ft of offices over five floors and 575,000 sq ft of commercial space over two floors. It has the flexibility to be reconfigured into four separate buildings.

The five-storey Press Centre will provide around 317,000 sq ft of grade A offices with the potential for retail uses on the ground floor.

In October, the Legacy Company invited interested parties to bid to take up at least one floor in either of the buildings. Ten bids were returned by the 2 December 2011 deadline, with eight of them proposing the take up of both buildings on long leases. They covered a range of different uses including technology, digital, creative, media, sport, office, leisure and retail uses.


About Paul Norman's Olympics blog

News Editor of CoStar News, a commercial property news service. Regular blogger on the London 2012 Olympics and what it means for property and the the regeneration of East London
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