Future of London's Olympic Buildings After the Games isn't Assured
Photo: oda: Velodrome
London's successful bid for the Olympic 2012 Games was based on its commitment to a sustainable legacy: maintaining and reusing the buildings for athletic and community use after the big event. Happily, sanity has prevailed and the massive Olympic Stadium which was under threat of demolition will now be retained as a football (soccer) stadium.
But what about the future of some of the other buildings? The plan was that many of the buildings would be a long-term legacy for the future. They would be used by elite athletes, new tenants, and community groups or dismantled and sold to other countries, for their own Olympic games. There are two big success stories so far. The Velodrome will become a cycling centre for the Eastway Cycling Club. A road cycle circuit and mountain bike course and BMX circuit will combine to create the Lee Valley VeloPark, with cycling facilities across all disciplines in one cycling 'hub'. That is because the municipality, Lee Valley Park Authority, was in at the drawing board seven years ago when it was conceived and designed.
The basketball arena is another success story. It was built as a 'flat-pack' with a 12,000 seat capacity stadium and was intended to be dismantled and sold. It will almost certainly be taken apart and sold to Brazil, and reassembled where it will be used in their 2016 Games.
According to the Evening Standard, there are problems with the future of the Broadcast Centre which was supposed to be rented out. Since none of the 45 potential tenants are media companies, the structure may be demolished, even though it cost £330M. News update: today it was announced that a Dubai company may turn the building into an indoor snow/skiing venue.
The handball arena is a slightly more positive prospect. It is being recycled as a concert arena even though London has quite a few already. Surely there must be a need for a state of the art handball court...
Next up on the disaster list: the Aquatics Centre. It was supposed to cost £75M and it is up to £268M and still counting.