The £1bn (US$1.3bn) plans to turn UK-venue Olympia London into a multi-purpose cultural hub have been approved by planners.
YOO Capital and Deutsche Finance International – which own the historic exhibition centre – submitted plans to Hammersmith & Fulham Council (the London Local Authority in the area) in 2018 to turn the 14-acre site into a destination with hotels, restaurants, performance venues and office space.
Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC are leading on the design and implementation of the project, which will also see 2.5 acres of new public space created. The transformation will begin at an unspecified date in 2020, with the first tenants moving in by 2023.
YOO Capital and Deutsche Finance International are in advanced talks with stakeholders in entertainment and hospitality about taking space on the site and say they plan to announce the first commercial partners in the spring.
The project will create more than 3,000 new construction jobs over the five-year build in addition to approximately 5,400 new jobs for the borough when it is completed. It will also bring in an extra £9m per year in consumer spending to Hammersmith & Fulham.
Key features of the project include:
• A 1,500-seat theatre
• A 1,000-seat performing arts venue
• Two hotels
• A four-screen cinema
• 63,000sqm of creative office space, including new co-working space
• Upgrades to the existing spaces
• A 18,50sqm logistics centre
Chairman of YOO Capital John Hitchcox said in a statement: “Not only is this great news for London – it’s also an example of a British project with European investment creating jobs and opportunities in spite of the current economic and political climate.
“We are proud to announce this plan and press ‘Go’ on a £1bn project that will transform Olympia London into a global force in arts, entertainment, exhibitions and events.
“We will achieve all of this with minimal disruption to the hundreds of inspirational events that will continue to take place at Olympia London during the transformation.”
Gavin Neilan, co-founding partner of DFI, added: “We are delighted to announce that planning consent has been granted for our £1bn transformation of Olympia London and look forward to working with our partners to support the exhibition business and unlock the tremendous potential within the iconic estate.”
Nigel Nathan, MD, Olympia London, added: “As the jewel in the crown of our industry, Olympia London has created lifelong memories for millions of people and with this investment, we will continue to do so whilst retaining our portfolio of events. Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Olympia London’s rich history.”
Chris Skeith, CEO, Association of Event Organisers (AEO) concluded: “It’s excellent news for the events community that planning permission has been granted for this iconic, world-class venue. Olympia London has been home to some of the UK’s leading shows for decades, and we’re excited to continue hosting events both throughout the refurbishment and beyond.”
Olympia London has confirmed that the venue will remain open throughout the works.