Monday, 20 May 2013
Last of the Olympic Venues Filled by iCity
A triumphant London mayor held a news conference late last week to announce the signing of a deal between the London Legacy Development Corporation and iCity, a consortium put together to develop and promote the digital and creative industries in the UK. iCity will take control of the remaining empty space at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Mayor Boris Johnson announced the deal, visibly gloating about the city's accomplishment in light of a constant stream of scepticism and criticism. Johnson said, "many people thought [filling the empty Olympic venues] would never happen.” He said he expected the "white flags" of surrender would be offered by the plan's critics in the near future.
Once iCity takes over the space early next year, it is expected that tenants moving in will generate up to £450 million to the local and national economies while creating as many as 4,500 local jobs. Experts suggest an additional 2,000 jobs could be created outside London. Given that the total investments in the project to date have exceeded £1 billion, iCity had better hope their plans are realised in full.
Thus far, roughly 40% of the eight venues are spoken for. Tenants set to move in next year include Loughborough University and Hackney Community college. Mayor Johnson spoke glowingly about both institutions during his remarks last week. He called their leases a "stunning achievement."
In addition to the two educational entities, a new technology hub is expected to host the largest and most efficient data centre in the UK. It should easily be one of the top data centres in all of Europe once complete. It is expected that iCity officials will work together with the UK government to attract big-name clients like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
As it stands, Ireland is the preferred spot for IT businesses in the region. iCity and the city of London aim to change that.
Over the last several months, we've published several blog posts talking about data centres and IT companies re-purposing old buildings for new facilities. Nevertheless, the iCity deal takes re-purposing to the next level. The former Olympic venues being utilised were originally designed for the event's broadcasting needs, so much of the infrastructure is already in place for technology companies.
It should be very easy for iCity to transform the space to make it suitable for IT services, hosting and colocation, and large-scale server applications. Once home to one the world's biggest sporting exhibition events, the venues will soon be home to the UK's burgeoning technology sector.
The plans for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are part of a greater scheme intended to make London the centre of technology and digital creativity in Europe. There are exciting new projects going on all over the city along with others in outlying areas. We fully expect the UK to continue on this course into the foreseeable future - something that's good for everyone in the country.