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iCITY plans approved as Olympic legacy moves one step closer to reality

iCITY, the company selected by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to transform the former Press and Broadcast Centres on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park into a world-leading creative and digital cluster, has had its plans for redevelopment approved by the LLDC’s planning committee.

The company also today reveals that the development will be named Here East. The unique location will bring together global companies alongside east London’s most innovative start-ups. With over one million square feet of space, it will offer some of the most advanced digital infrastructure in the world, including almost unlimited bandwidth connectivity and the highest capacity power.

Here East will partner with Hackney House, Hackney Council’s award-winning alternative trade mission, during ‘South By Southwest Interactivein Austin, Texas, between the 7th and 10th March 2014, where it will showcase its plans to support London’s fast-growing creative and digital community. SXSW is the world’s largest interactive, music and film festival. It has been the launch platform for some of the world’s largest and most successful digital companies, including Twitter’s debut in 2007, Foursquare in 2009 and Storify in 2011.

The planning decision marks a major milestone in the delivery of the Olympic legacy and is another step towards creating a home for world-leading creative and digital companies on the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Here East will be the significant generator of employment, training and education opportunities across the Park and support east London’s flourishing creative and digital industries. It will create over 7,500 jobs, including 5,300 directly on-site and a further 2,200 in the local community through the impact of using local supply chains and new business generation. Redevelopment of the buildings is expected to begin in summer 2014.


Commenting, Gavin Poole, CEO of iCITY, said:

“I am delighted that our designs and plans to develop a world-leading cluster for cutting-edge creative and digital companies have been approved. As well as creating thousands of jobs and training opportunities, Here East will provide state of the art infrastructure and capacity for the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy to continue their impressive expansion. Redevelopment of the buildings will begin in the summer. I am also particularly excited that we will be partnering with Hackney House at South by Southwest, showcasing our plans and providing a platform for some of Hackney’s newest companies and budding entrepreneurs.”


Jamie Ritblat, CEO of Delancey, commented:

“Our vision of a unique home for the creative and digital industries in the heart of east London has moved one step closer to being delivered. Through our presence across Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the creation of East Village, Delancey is committed to pioneering new communities, new destinations, and a long-term legacy of innovation, employment and enterprise from the London 2012 Games. We are particularly thrilled that we have the opportunity to reveal our vision for Here East with an international audience at South by Southwest, and share the same stage that launched the likes of digital leaders such as Twitter. It puts a clear stake in the ground as to our huge aspirations and expectations for this world-class development.”


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“I’m delighted that the plans for Here East, which will become a world leading digital hub have been approved. It will provide thousands of high quality jobs and be a real jewel in the crown of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”


Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of LLDC, added:

“I am delighted that planning permission has been granted to allow the Here East vision to become reality. This is an exciting legacy, as the buildings that were used to house thousands of journalists during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will now create thousands of jobs.  As the Park opens to the public on 5 April, this is another part of our plan to create a new heart of the city with world class sporting venues as well as new homes and employment opportunities.”


Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, said:

“This approval represents a major step towards ensuring an Olympic legacy for Hackney which will unlock the full potential for regeneration and investment in this part of the borough. Here East’s exciting proposals will generate thousands of jobs and, alongside existing business, will firmly establish Hackney as the UK’s centre for innovation in the broadcast, media and tech sectors. It’s also excellent to see Here East playing a key role in our Hackney House initiative.  This is yet another illustration of the effective and innovative way in which the council and local businesses are working together to attract investment and jobs to the borough. Hackney Council will be working with Here East and its tenants to ensure local residents benefit from the many job, apprenticeship and training opportunities and can begin building meaningful careers in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”


Stuart Sutton, CEO of Infinity SDC, said:

“Infinity SDC is delighted to have secured planning approval for a unique and innovative digital hub in an iconic location on the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As both joint venture partner and a key tenant, we are hugely excited about creating an efficient and flexible data centre that is capable of supporting technology-led organisations through their IT evolution, and will help to further establish the UK as a global leader in creative and digital industries.”


David Bickle, Partner at Hawkins\Brown, said:

“With this important milestone secured we are one step closer to shaping Here East, a new neighbourhood that will support a thriving community of industrious makers, digital natives, free spirited thinkers, curious researchers, mould breaking broadcasters, disruptive startups, creative practitioners and entrepreneurial businesses, who are open to the opportunities of collaboration and social exchange. As architects Hawkins\Brown are proud to be contributing to Here East’s special DNA, transforming the former press, media and broadcast buildings within Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”


Here East intends to select its preferred contractor in March 2014 with construction work on the former Press and Broadcast Centres beginning in the summer of 2014. Key tenants Loughborough University, Hackney Community College and Infinity SDC will locate at Here East from 2015, and the entire Here East area will be fully operational by 2018. BT Sport is already broadcasting live directly from Here East with a state of the art 80,000 square foot production hub, underpinning the development and demonstrating the attractiveness of Here East to the technology, media and creative sector.