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Olympic tower bid contest begins

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has begun its search for candidates to run the £22.3M looping steel tower at the Olympic Park.

Bidders have until January 28 to submit their formal interest in managing the 114m-tall ArcelorMittal Orbit for London 2012 Olympic Games and beyond.

The Orbit, which is scheduled for completion in early 2012, could generate up to £10M per year and could attract a million visitors in its first year, according to the OPLC.

The operator will be in charge of ticketing, marketing and events, hospitality and catering, the gift shop, reception and internal security at the sculpture, which was designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond.

The monument includes two observation floors, a spiral staircase, lift and a restaurant. It will stand 22m taller than the Statue of Liberty on a site between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre.

OPLC chief executive Andrew Altman said: “The operator of the ArcelorMittal Orbit will be in charge of running what we hope will be one of the world’s most spectacular visitor attractions. Combining cutting-edge design with stunning views of the London skyline, the sculpture could attract up to one million visitors in its first year of operation, and will be an iconic symbol of the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

“With the changing view of the City by day and night, the ArcelorMittal Orbit has the potential to be the ‘must-see’ attraction in east London.”

The OPLC hopes to appoint an operator by June 2011, under a 10-year contract, to manage the fit-out of the venue. The Orbit will be licensed to London 2012 between May and October 2012 before being reopened in May 2013 for the public.

ArcelorMittal will pay £19.2M towards the £22.3M structure, while the London Development Agency will fund the £3.1M difference.

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