Officials have put on hold their decision on the outcome of the Olympic Stadium following intense lobbying from both potential bidders, the Olympic Park Legacy Company announced this week.
Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) said it needs more time to assess both bids from Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
Both shortlisted bidders – Tottenham Hotspur and AEG, and Premier League rivals West Ham United and Newham Council – were expecting OPLC to make their decision in this Friday’s (28th Jan) board meeting.
Now, following intense media pressure and speculation from both bidders, OPLC has decided to postpone the board meeting until further notice however a spokesman said the company still hopes to a bidder in place by the end of the financial year - 5th April 2011.
In the final week it has became more ferocious.
Both bidders have been commenting to the media the benefits of their proposed bid and pitfalls of the competing one.
“I’m prepared to revisit my words that day, but I genuinely don’t recall a whole heap about bulldozing down a publicly-funded facility, replacing it with a Premiership football club and inspiring a generation of Tottenham season ticket holders, however many there may be on a waiting list,” said London 2012 chairman Seb Coe saying on BBC Radio Five Live on Sunday slamming Tottenham Hotspur’s bid.
Prior to this Tottenham Hotspur manager said West Ham United’s bid would leave a “desolate graveyard.”
OPLC has said given the detailed nature of both bids received, they need more time to seek further clarification with both bidders to identify a preferred bidder.
OPLC wants secure the most appropriate solution for the stadium saying its “vital” to the long-term future of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the wider regeneration of the area.
In addition to the two shortlisted bids, OPLC also has the option of the original plan to convert the Olympic Stadium to a 25,000 seats, mixed-use venue. In going to market, OPLC’s aim was to consider options which would enhance and build on that plan.
The bids are being evaluated against criteria agreed by founder members at the outset of the process:
- To achieve a viable long-term solution for the Olympic Stadium that is deliverable and provides value for money
- To secure a partner with the capability to deliver and operate a legacy solution for a venue of the Stadium’s size and complexity
- To re-open the Stadium for operational use as rapidly as possible following the 2012 Games
- To ensure that the Stadium remains a distinctive physical symbol supporting the economic, physical and social regeneration of the surrounding area
- To allow flexible usage of the Stadium, accommodating a vibrant programme of events allowing year round access for schools, the local community, the wider public and elite sport.
Once the OPLC’s Board recommends a preferred bidder, this will be subject to approval by the Government and the Mayor of London’s Office.