Planning hurdle cleared allowing £1bn transformation of LBF venue into an arts, entertainment, events and creative business quarter; Olympia will trade throughout three-year scheme
A £1bn project to turn Olympia London into a world-leading cultural hub has been approved by planners. YOO Capital and Deutsche Finance International – which own the historic exhibition centre – submitted plans to Hammersmith & Fulham Council last summer to turn the 14-acre site into a destination with leading hotels and restaurants, plus performance venues and state-of-the-art office space.
The scheme was approved by councillors at a packed meeting of the council’s planning committee in Hammersmith town hall.
The redevelopment begins next year, with the first tenants moving in by 2023. Key features of the project include: 1,500-seat theatre; a 1,000-seat performing arts venue; two hotels; a four-screen cinema; 670,000 sq ft of creative office space, including new co-working space; upgrades to the existing spaces to turn Olympia London into one of the world’s top exhibition and event centres; and a 200,000 sq ft logistics centre.
Nigel Nathan, md, Olympia London, said: "As the jewel in the crown of our industry, Olympia London has created lifelong memories for millions of people and with this investment, we will continue to do so whilst retaining our portfolio of events. Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Olympia London's rich history."
Chris Skeith, ceo, Association of Event Organisers (AEO) said: "It’s excellent news for the events community that planning permission has been granted for this iconic, world-class venue. Olympia London has been home to some of the UK’s leading shows for decades, and we’re excited to continue hosting events both throughout the refurbishment and beyond."
Olympia London has confirmed that the venue will remain open throughout the works. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has to approve the deal but to block it when London is craving positive news in the run-up to Brexit would be highly unlikely.