Hackney’s Olympic media centre could become research centre in Wellcome’s bid for entire 2012 park
The Olympic media centre in Hackney Wick could be transformed into a world-class science research centre - generating 7,000 jobs - if proposals from a medical charity to buy the entire 2012 park get the go ahead.
The Wellcome Trust, the UK’s largest charitable foundation, has entered into discussions with the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) about taking over the freehold of the whole Olympic Park in return for �1billion investment.
This would include the Olympic stadium, aquatics centre, velodrome and athletes village.
But one of the first buildings to be developed under the plans would be Hackney’s troubled media centre, which has been paid for by the taxpayer after it failed to attract private financing.
The Wellcome Trust wants to create a Life Sciences Innovation Centre on the site, in collaboration with two universities.
The details of the research proposed are still under wraps, but ‘life sciences’ refers to the study of people, animals, or plants.
Bosses hope to satisfy Prime Minister David Cameron’s claims that Hackney could become Britain’s answer to Los Angeles technology hub, Silicon Valley.
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They say the centre would create 7,000 jobs and regenerate surrounding boroughs.
Peter Pereira Gray, head of investment at The Wellcome Trust, said: “We are excited to have been able to make a commercial proposal for the whole of the Olympic Park which provides an investment return to Wellcome Trust, a return of National Lottery funds, a world class sporting and community legacy, and very significant economic and social benefits to east London and the UK for the long term.”
The trust is one of three shortlisted bidders for the athletes’ village, which is due to be decided this week.
The OPLC’s expressions of interest phase for the media centre is now closed. During the Games the combined international broadcast centre and main press centre will be a 24-hour media hub, hosting 20,000 broadcasters, photographers and journalists.
But tendering for the whole park has not as yet been contemplated.
Baroness Ford, chairwoman of the OPLC, told a national newspaper that the government and mayor would decide on the possibility of a single investor in the next couple of weeks.