Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of the most visible and significant legacies of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. The Park is home to several sport venues and facilities, as well as recreation facilities and visitor attractions. With new commercial and retail development expected over the next several years, it is also evolving into a new hub for doing business in East London.
About the Park
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is located east of Stratford City and includes parts of Stratford, Leyton, Hackney Wick, and Bow. The development of the site was first proposed in London's bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2004 and a master plan for the Park was released in 2006. In 2010, the Olympic Park Legacy Company was established to manage the development of the site following the Games. In 2012, the London Legacy Development Corporation was created to take over the role of the Olympic Park Legacy Company.
The Park was at the heart of London 2012 as the UK welcomed athletes and visitors from around the world. Venues within the Park include the Olympic Stadium, London Aquatics Centre, London VeloPark (now the Lee Valley VeloPark), Eton Manor (now Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre), and Copper Box. The site also includes the former London Olympics Media Centre and the Olympic Village, which has been converted into the East Village residential district. Several new public transportation links were also developed for the Games, including Stratford and Stratford international stations.
Following the Games, the Park has transitioned to post-Games uses. Venues used for the Games have been refurbished and largely re-opened in 2013 and 2014. The Olympic Stadium is expected to re-open in 2016 as the new home for West Ham. Planning permission has been secured to develop almost 7,000 new homes in the Park, including in the East Village and the International Quarter. Several tourist and visitor attractions are also found in the park, including restored waterways, parkland and gardens, and the iconic Arcelor Mittal Orbit sculpture. In 2020, a new cultural district will also open with branches of University College London and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Doing Business in the Park
In the next few years, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will welcome innovative businesses thanks to an array of new facilities. New commercial space will cater to businesses and organisations of all sizes. Businesses in the Park will benefit from excellent transportation links including the new Crossrail service, which will reduce commuting times to Central London and Heathrow Airport. Several developments at the Park will spur business and economic growth in the area, including Here East and the International Quarter.
An exciting new digital quarter, Here East is based at the former London 2012 Press and Broadcast centres. New commercial and retail space will support approximately 4,500 jobs and will be linked to one of the most advanced digital infrastructure in Europe. Here East will also be home to London's largest data centre, which will be operated by Infinity SDC. The development will include flexible space for start-ups and established firms, as well as incubator and accelerator space for start-ups and growing businesses at the TechHub and Space Studios. New facilities for Hackney Community College and Loughborough University in London will also spur new research and innovation at the Park.
The International Quarter is expected to add more than four million square feet of new commercial, retail and leisure space in the Park. The site will also incorporate landmark hotels and up to 300 new homes. Located to the north and south of Westfield Stratford City, the new district will be ready for its first tenants in 2016. The site will offer one of the most connected places to do business in London thanks to its proximity to Stratford and Stratford International stations. For workers, the site is also located close to stunning recreational and leisure facilities in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. When complete, the International Quarter will help create more than 25,000 jobs.
Business and the Community
Businesses in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park benefit from an emerging community with a spirit of doing business responsibly. The London Legacy Development Corporation works with businesses in the Park to support the local community in several ways. The Legacy Careers Programme provides an opportunity for businesses to offer job and skills training opportunities to local residents. There are also business volunteering opportunities though Echo, an Economy of Hours initiative that provides a marketplace of resources and supports. Echo allows members to trade skills, services and resources to other members in need of no-cost supports to build their business.