'Uneasy' Olympic media centre bidder pulls out at 11th hour

By Paul Norman - Friday, July 13, 2012 16:04

The UK Fashion Hub consortium has pulled out of the bidding to take on the 1m sq ft Olympic International Press and Broadcast centre days ahead of the decisive mayoral Board meeting.

The consortium is one of two bidders that had been left in the running to take on the key employment generator at the Olympic Park post Games.

Rival bidder iCITY has been recommended by the team at the London Legacy Development Corporation Board as the preferred bidder ahead of a meeting next Tuesday that will see the City Hall controlled Corporation’s Board make a final decision.

A statement from the consortium slated the lack of transparency in the process.

It said: "Throughout the process, the UKFH has maintained that the press and broadcast centre buildings are important public assets and has understood that if a better and more economically beneficial occupier could be found, it would respect that decision.

"Press coverage over the past two days has reported leaks that suggest a decision has already been taken to appoint iCITY as the preferred bidder, despite the LLDC board meeting scheduled for 17 July to make that decision.

"This, and other issues, have compounded the unease felt by the UKFH team that the process has not been as transparent as it should be and therefore the decision has been taken to withdraw."

The UK Fashion Hub proposed a dedicated centre that would have combined the fashion and textile manufacturing sectors to create a destination for wholesalers, buyers and the creative industries.

The hub was anchored by Brandboxx and Workspace Group and the bid was also supported by French retailer Decathlon. It involves the Broadcast Centre becoming a fashion centre with offices, an incubator, manufacturing and creative uses. The Press Centre would become a fashion college, a fashion e-tailing centre and a media centre.

Recommended bidder iCITY is proposing an ‘Innovation City’ anchored by Infinity and in partnership with Loughborough with the Broadcast Centre accommodating a cloud computing centre, research labs, post production, graphic designers and digital education. The Press Centre would become an innovation and research centre with links to higher education that would showcase British technology. Loughborough would take space at the press centre to provide up to 1,000 Loughborough students with a teaching and research campus.

The Tuesday meeting will also decide on which of three shortlisted parties will build the first 800 homes at the park and will also rubberstamp to go to market offering a £200,000 pa salary and 20% bonus for an individual to replace Andrew Altman as chief executive.

pnorman@costar.co.uk

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