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Olympic Media Centre to leave vast legacy structure

The 2012 Olympic Games media centre will leave a vast 100m by 250m by 25m tall 'flexible' structure in legacy to accommodate an as yet uncertain role for the local borough.

Speaking to NCE, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chief executive David Higgins said: "I can say definitively that Hackney will have a substantial permanent building that will house part of the media requirement for the Olympic Games."

"We are future-proofing the facility - we don't know the future use for it and we don't have tenants. It needs to be flexible and adaptable," he said adding that he thought it was likely in future the building could support a number of low cost businesses or media companies.

Higgins said the legacy building would be permanent and, although still in design added: "It will be a very big structural steel portal frame building with a very heavy floor loadings and clear spans.

"We are not going to build that and then trash it," he said. "This will of the order of one and a half times [east London exhibition centre] Excel."

Higgins also said that the ODA would be financing the construction but said that final funding arrangement were still being finalised.

The originally budget was £220M, but this included developer funding which is not as yet finalised. Higgins said that the ODA now hoped to complete the structure inside the original £400M total target.

During the 2012 Olympic Games, the Media Centre will also use additional temporary elements to house areas such as catering, said Higgins.

Carillion will still be involved in the delivery, said Higgins.

He also said the troubled Athletes' Village will be scaled-down from 3,300 high-rise apartments to 2,800 low-rise apartments, with a total of 17,000 beds.

He pointed out that that the credit crunch had some unexpected benefits: "The credit crunch taken the heat out of the market," he said. "There is much less pressure on inflation although I don't think that this will have a dramatic effect for us as we pre-purchased the steel for the stadium and aquatic centre."

However on the down side Higgins said that the financial crisis had created a "serious correction to the industry" which meant the ODA had to be "extremely careful" in the way it treated its supply chain.

He said the ODA was now keeping a close check on the health of the supply chain, in particular around cash flow, and would be attempting to pay all suppliers within 18 days, rather than 30 days originally planned.

A full review of progress on the Olympics will be in the 11 December issue of NCE.

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