London seeks post-2012 tenants for media centre

LONDON (Reuters) - Anyone interested in taking over London’s Olympic media centre after the 2012 Games was on Friday invited to register their interest.

The vast grey building, in the northwest of the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, is one of two venues causing organisers most concern.

Local and national lawmakers want to quickly establish an anchor tenant for the 330 million pounds centre to stave off the threat of it becoming a white elephant as is the case with some previous Games.

The other venue causing concern is the 550 million pound main Olympic stadium, which is currently going through a bids process.

Interest already shown in the media centre includes creative, retail, education, sports, culture and office use.

“Our vision is to see creative, digital and media industries making the centres their home and taking advantage of the creative community already thriving in the area,” Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said in a statement.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company, a public sector company set up to manage planning and development of the park after the Games, said it was open to all suggestions sympathetic to the area.

Doubt has been expressed that such a large venue could support creative industries, which on the whole, are small-scale.

Like many of the venues, it was built with flexibility in mind and can be reconfigured into separate buildings.

The buildings include a 29,000-square metre Main Press Centre (MPC) and 53,000-square metre International Broadcast Centre (IBC), with an additional 9,000-square metres of office space.

During the Games, they will be used by more than 20,000 journalists, served by a 1,200 capacity carpark.

Anyone interested has nine weeks to submit an expression of interest.

Building of the media centre ran into trouble last year when the planned private investment failed to materialise because of the credit crunch, forcing the government to step in and pick up the total bill.

Its original design also came in for criticism, with the government’s chief design advisers Cabe initially refusing to support it, dubbing the MPC a “large monolithic block.” Further work on the design resulted in it gaining permission.

Editing by Keith Weir