The dream of turning the press and broadcast centres at the London Olympic Park into a new East London tech cluster came one step closer today after redevelopment plans were approved by the London London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLDC) planning committee.
iCity, the organisation tasked with transforming the former media buildings, also revealed today that the redevelopment, which is set to get underway this summer, will be dubbed Here East after a marketing exercise found this was a more suitable name than iCity.
The Here East tech cluster will house start-ups, corporations, universities, venture capital investors, and a huge new data centre. It will span across three main buildings, containing over a million square feet of space that needs to be designed and developed. The buildings include the 850,000 square foot former broadcast centre, the 300,000 square foot former ress centre, and a 750 seat auditorium.
iCity originally chose architect firm GMW to complete the redevelopment but later announced that it was going to hand the contract to Hawkins/Brown. Some of the specifics for the new redevelopment were unveiled earlier this year at a media event in Central London.
The broadcast centre, which is already home to BT Sport, will house the Infinity data centre at its core where there is no natural light, and be enveloped by a 16 metre "crust", which will be used by other oganisations on the iCity campus.
The Infinity Stratford data centre will be a 140,000 square foot data centre with 40MVA of diversely connected power. The company claims the datacentre will be one of the largest and most efficient in Europe, with low latency connections to the world's telecommunications networks that will be achieved due to the proximity to the majority of the UK's major internet peering point.
The broadcast centre will also include facilities for Loughborough University and Hackney Community College as well as a “gridded structure” that start-ups can use as a platform to create their own small buildings to house themselves in.
The majority of the press centre will be filled with businesses, adding that there will be small units on the ground floor for small retail outlets, like artisan bakers and coffee shops, and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Olympic Stadium.
iCity was first selected as the preferred bidder for the press and broadcast centres in April 2012 and so far more than £1 billion has been invested in the former press and broadcast centres, with £500 million coming from Infinity clients and £270 million coming from secured tenants.
iCity CEO Gavin Poole said: “As well as creating thousands of jobs and training opportunities, Here East will provide state of the art infrastructure and capacity for the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy to continue their impressive expansion.”
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, added: “This approval represents a major step towards ensuring an Olympic legacy for Hackney which will unlock the full potential for regeneration and investment in this part of the borough."
Here East is planning to showcase its plans to support London’s fast-growing creative and digital community at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, this March. The festival is the world’s largest interactive, music and film festival.