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Olympic Media Centre Could Become “Innovation City”

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Infinity will turn Olympic press and broadcast centres into £500m technology and research centre if it wins bid

Data Center operator Infinity will turn the Olympic park press and broadcast centres into an “innovation city” if it wins the race to lease the facilities after this summer’s Olympic Games in London have concluded.

Two other bids have been shortlisted, including one from Oxylane Group for a sports-focused retail, office, leisure and education village and another which would turn the site into a UK fashion hub.

Innovation City

Infinity’s proposal would involve a £500 million investment into a technology and research centre. The broadcast centre, which offers 95,000 square feet of office space on five floors, along with 575,000 square feet of commercial space, would accommodate a cloud computing centre, research labs, post production, graphic designers and digital education.

The 317,000 square feet press centre would then be used as an innovation research centre with links to higher education that would showcase the best of British technology.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) began the bidding process in October 2011 when it invited interested parties to submit their proposals before the 2 December deadline. The OPLC, a non-profit organisation set up by the government and Mayor of London, is tasked with the long-term development of the Olympic park.

Its remit is to create a mixed-use commercial district that will generate employment across a number of different industries and to generate opportunities for local businesses.

Opportunities and Employment

“Hackney Council looks forward to working closely with the Legacy Company and the three shortlisted bidders to establish which bid best aligns with the Council’s long-held aspirations for this location,” commented Jules Pipe, the Mayor of Hackney. “The tenancy of these buildings represents the greatest chance for a sustainable employment legacy from the Games and we want to make sure that the successful bidder fulfils that promise by providing a full range of high quality jobs, from entry level to highly-skilled specialist roles.”

The OPLC also hopes that the Olympic Park will form part of wider “Tech City” in East London that will extend beyond its current home in Shoreditch.

“We have three dynamic bids focused on the creation of thousands of jobs and training opportunities, along with links to Tech City,” said Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the OPLC

According to the Financial Times, the media centre has long been considered as one of the more difficult venues to find a legacy for due to its size and distance from transport links at the other end of the park.

It was hoped that a large company such as Google or Cisco would move into the facility, encouraging smaller companies to the site, however this has proved challenging. It would have made extending the Tech City far easier, although both Google and Cisco have committed to moving to Silicon Roundabout.