By Tom Degun at City Hall in London

london 2012_ibc_and_mpc_01-02-12February 1 - Duncan Innes, the executive director of real estate at the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), has given reassurances that neither the Main Press Centre (MPC) nor the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) will follow in the footsteps of the ill-fated Millennium Dome following the conclusion of the London 2012 Games.

The Millennium Dome was opened to the public at the start of 2000 at a cost of £789 million ($1.2 billion/€950 million) and originally featured a major exhibition titled the "Millennium Experience" which was designed to celebrate the beginning of the new millennium.

However, the exhibition and the entire project became the subject of considerable political controversy as it failed to attract the number of visitors anticipated and as a result, suffered recurring financial problems.

All of the original exhibition and associated complex were subsequently demolished and it was only when the Millennium Dome was taken over by O2 and completely rebranded as the O2 Arena when it reopened in 2007 that the venue was saved from complete failure.

The venue will now be used during the London 2012 Games, under the name of the North Greenwich Arena due to sponsorship agreements, but Innes has promised that the MPC and IBC will not follow the same pattern as the Millennium Dome despite obvious comparisons as the two giant press and broadcast facilities offer around one million square foot of space in east London nor far from the O2 Arena.

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"I think that the MPC and the IBC have already avoided doing what the Dome did," Innes told the London Assembly here.

"In 2010, the OPLC ran a market testing process into the future uses of the MPC and IBC which generated 45 expressions of interest across a wide range of sectors including creative, media, retail, cultural, construction, education, public, real estate, entertainment and leisure.

"Out of that, we had significant interest from ten companies and we have now drawn up a shortlist of three very strong bidders who want to make the venue their long-term home after the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

"They are UK Fashion Hub, Oxylane Group and iCITY and all three are looking to take up long leases for the whole of both buildings.

"All three are focused on the creation of thousands of jobs and training opportunities and all three would provide a viable future for the venues so I think that is different from the Dome.

"The venues themselves are also very different from the Dome in terms of the flexibility they offer because they are able to physically change and adapt in a way that the Dome was never able to."

During the Games, the MPC and IBC will house thousands of the world's accredited print and broadcast journalists before being handed over for fit out to the successful bidder, who will be confirmed later this year.

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UK Fashion Hub plan a dedicated centre for the fashion and textile manufacturing sectors with the bid involving the IBC becoming a fashion centre and the MPC becoming a fashion college, a fashion e-tailing centre and a media centre.

Oxylane Group plan a sports orientated mixed-use offer in partnership with Loughborough University which would see the IBC offering leisure, events space, research and education and the MPC used as office space and a technology centre.

Finally, iCITY aim to use the MBC for a computing centre, research labs, post production, graphic designer and digital education with the MPC becoming an innovation and research centre with links to higher education to try and showcase British technology.

ICity innovation_Park_MPC_and_IBC_post_Londo_2012
"We are now going through the proposals of the three bidders in fine detail to make sure that they can deliver a successful on-going legacy that will stimulate future commercial interest," Innes said.

"The process is a clear example of how London is further ahead in legacy planning than any previous host Olympic city."

The five storey MPC will provide around 317,000 sq ft of office space with the potential for retail uses on the ground floor, while the IBC will offer 95,000 sq ft of office space over five floors and 575,000 sq ft of commercial space over two floors, but has the flexibility to be reconfigured into four separate buildings.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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January 2012: Fashion, leisure village and innovation centre shortlisted for London 2012 IBC and MPC
December 2011: Ten companies bid to take over MPC and IBC after London 2012 Games
October 2011: MPC and IBC must have a skilled jobs legacy warns senior London Assembly member
October 2011: Bids invited for Main Press Centre and International Broadcast Centre
July 2011: International Broadcast Centre completed for London 2012