By Duncan Mackay at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

ICity innovation_Park_MPC_and_IBC_post_Londo_2012July 17 - The £295 million ($461 million/€376 million) Olympics media centre looks set to be turned into a cloud computing centre after iCity were today selected as the preferred bidder by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LDDC).

The announcement had been widely expected following the decision of the only other bidder, the UK Fashion Hub consortium, which had planned to turn it into a centre for the UK's fashion and textile industries, withdrew.

They pulled out, claiming that the process had not been transparent, following reports that the LDDC favoured the iCity proposal for them to become long-term tennants on a 99-year lease.

The iCity bid is backed by data centre manager Infinity and property company Delancey and its proposal fits with British Prime Minister David Cameron's vision for London's East End to become a technology centre to rival California's Silicon Valley.

Delancey had earlier partnered with Qatari Diar, the property branch of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, to buy the Olympic Village for £557 million ($871 million/€710 million)

The Main Press Centre and International Broadcast Centre, which is set to accommodate more than 20,000 members of the world's media during the Olympics and Paralympics, contains over 31,000 square metres of office space and includes such facilities as 1,300 internet ports with fibre optic cabling.

Olympic Media_Centre
Afterwards, the Broadcast Centre will offer 95,000 square foot of office space over five floors and 575,000 sq ft of commercial space over two floors.

The five storey Press Centre will provide around 317,000 sq ft of prime office space with the potential for retail uses on the ground floor.

The structure is highly connected and is in close proximity to Canary Wharf.

The iCity proposal aims to create a leading centre for technology, design and research with the potential to generate more than 4,000 jobs.

The digital hub would harness innovation and creativity in East London, their proposal claims.

The iCity vision also has a community focus including a conference centre and a pedestrian square for broadcasting major sporting events, along with cafes, restaurants and bars.

The LDDC also selected the winning developer to build the first new neighbourhood on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as the area will be known after the Games. 

The developer, which cannot be named until the tendering process is fully completed next week, will be able to begin work as soon as the Games finish in order for the first homes to be ready at the end of 2014.

Cameron's vision for a Silicon Valley-style area may seem far fetched at the moment but this part of London is already home to an area branded Tech City, a district spanning the Shoreditch and Old Street neighbourhoods that has attracted scores of internet start-up companies over the past five years.

"London couldn't be in a better position to stage the best Games ever with everything ready to go and our legacy plans in great shape," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"With the future for six out of the eight Olympic Park facilities are already secured, it is now particularly encouraging to see on top of that a substantial bid for the Press and Broadcast Centres that we hope will act as a spring board for major job creation and new opportunities for local people.

"No other host city has been this far advanced with its legacy planning before even the first starting gun has been fired."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
February 2012: London 2012 IBC and MPC will avoid pitfalls of Millennium Dome, promises senior OPLC executive
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