Ten years after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is awarding new operating contracts for the London Aquatics Centre and Copper Box Arena.
The contract has been with GLL since 2012. LLDC is also re-letting the contracts for the maintenance of the 560-acre parkland.
LLDC was established to deliver the transformative legacy of the Games and has overseen the development of the Olympic Park as a destination for sport, entertainment, enterprise, education and leisure, with 6m visitors arriving each year.
“We’ve started the process of re-letting contracts, worth more than £40m, for the operation and maintenance of world-class venues, parkland and facilities as the Olympic Park enters the next phase of its journey,” said Edward Fane, head of venues at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Development plans include the creation of Shift – described as a “living testbed” for the “inclusive innovation community” – which is expected to boost visitors to the Olympic Park by 1.5m a year.
UCL (University College London) and UAL’s London College of Fashion will relocate to the new quarter, along with the BBC, Sadler’s Wells, the V&A and Loughborough University London. Partners include Here East, Plexal and Lendlease.
Shift – which is collaborating with a vast mix of global businesses and startups across the community – will be addressing some of the 21st century’s most pressing problems, such as climate change and adaptation, health and well-being and mobility. It will comprise 53,000sq m of workspace, 33,000 new homes, and 40,000 jobs and host more than 10,000 undergraduate and postgraduates.
Overall, the developments are expected to boost visitor numbers to 10m annually and LLDC says it is now looking for the right partners to work with to build on what has already been delivered.
The Copper Box Arena opened in 2013 and is one of London’s most versatile events venues. It can accommodate 7,500 people and, because the main seating blocks can be tucked away, can provide a pillar-free floor area of 2,712sq m.
Street League Skateboarding, the Table Tennis World Cup, England Netball Internationals and esports tournaments, such as Call of Duty and the Invictus Games, are among the major events held here.
In November 2022 the Arena hosted the England team’s opening matches for the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup and it is also the official home of the professional basketball team the London Lions, and London’s professional netball team, London Pulse.
“We’re seeking a significant partnership for the next eight years to bring more high-profile events to the Park and build on the Arena’s hugely successful first decade,” said Fane.
The London Aquatics Centre, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, offers two 50m pools and a 25m dive pool, as well as an extensive gym and an inflatable assault course and slides for families. It has more than 9,000 members, is used by over 60 schools and 35 clubs and welcomes over 1m visitors each year.
As well as being used for lessons and elite dive training – Dive London and the British Diving team use it as a training base – it hosts major events, such as the World Para Swimming Championship, International Swimming League, European Aquatics Championships and the Invictus Games.
“The London Aquatics Centre is one of the world’s best venues where elite sports sit alongside community sports,” said Fane. “This prestigious and high-value contract is critically important to the long-term legacy of the Games of London 2012.
“We are seeking a significant partnership for the next eight years plus, to deliver continuous improvement and build on the remarkable aquatics legacy to date, whilst driving the best value for the taxpayer and local communities.”