When Taylor Wimpey, one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, and socialhousing landlord London & Quadrant were picked recently to build the first of five Olympic neighbourhoods in east London, it was the starting gun for a £300m project to create 11,000 new homes over the next two decades.
More than a third will be affordable houses, and will sit alongside new schools, nurseries, playgrounds and health centres – as well as world class sports venues.
The Olympic site – which will be renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – is expected to create 8,000 permanent and 2,500 temporary construction jobs.
Taylor Wimpey and L&Q will build 870 new homes on the 9.3 hectare Chobham Manor site. Nestled between the athletes’ village and the state of the art velodrome, it is occupied during the games by the temporary basketball arena. The two companies will lose no time and start work in October, with the first homes to be ready by 2014. Taylor Wimpey beat off rivals Barratt Homes and East Thames & Countryside Properties.
More than three quarters of the terraced and mews houses, set within tree-lined avenues alongside a new health centre and nurseries, will be family homes with three or more bedrooms. The homes will use infrastructure built for the London games such as the heating and telecoms networks and fibre optic broadband.
Last month the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) won outline planning approval to build 6,800 home across five new neighbourhoods over the next 20 years. They will be staggered so as not to flood the market with new homes at once. The next neighbourhood to benefit is likely to be East Wick.
The athletes’ village itself was sold last year to the Qatari ruling family’s property company and UK developer Delancey. Qatari Diar and Delancey have teamed up to convert the village into 2,818 homes, including 1,000 family homes with three or four bedrooms, as well as a school, shops, bars and parks. The bulk of the residences will be offered as private rental accommodation.
“The development of Chobham Manor is a major milestone and will help ensure a thriving community on the Park becomes a reality sooner rather than later,” said the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
All but two of the eight permanent Olympic venues have been leased to new operators after the games. A shortlist of four bidders, including West Ham United and Formula One, has been drawn up for the stadium, which is slated to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships. West Ham remain favourites to move into the stadium after the games.
The Olympic Park is likely to attract 9 million visitors a year from 2016, which should offer opportunities for businesses and events, said the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).
The media centre near Stratford is be transformed into a technology hub, extending east London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ from Shoreditch where thousands of technology startups have set up shop in recent years. iCity, which includes Delancey and data centre manager Infinity, has been chosen as the preferred bidder for the 1m square foot site and hopes to attract anything from “garage” start-ups to mature businesses. Half of the 8,000 new jobs are expected to be created here.
The handball arena will become a multisport venue; the Aquatics centre with its two 50m pools will be opened up to the community at normal leisure centre prices; the Orbit, spiralling red sculpture above the site, will remain as a visitor attraction; the Velo Park will remain for track and outdoor cycling and Eton Manor will become a tennis and hockey centre.
The LLDC was set up three years before the games and as a result, legacy plans are more advanced than at any previous Olympic host city, at this stage.