Now that the athletes have packed up their oversized flags and contraband condoms, and the eyeballs of the world have focused elsewhere, what happens to the Olympic Park?
The Paralympics, firstly, preparations for which are well underway (haven’t got tickets yet? You’d best hurry). After that, work to transform the area into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (or “kwee-op” as we’re nicknaming it) begins. The video above, recently released by the London Legacy Development Company, shows a fly-through of how the park might look a few years hence.
We already know that the area will be comprised of five districts, named Pudding Mill, Chobham Manor, East Wick, Marshgate Wharf and Sweetwater, with around 8,000 new homes in total, many of them in the Georgian terrace style of John Nash. Long-term, the plan is for the entire park to house around 30,000 people by 2030. It will also aim to be a major centre for the arts.
In addition, the Athletes’ Village will be converted into residential flats and re-christened East Village. New residents will be able to start hunting for the room in which Usain Bolt “entertained” the Swedish handball team from summer 2013. This vaguely sinister video shows how it could look:
But what of the venues themselves? Temporary structures including the Basketball Arena, Riverfront Arena and Water Polo Arena will be dismantled. Of the permanent venues, the Velodrome will become the hub of the Lea Valley Velopark, with a BMX racing course and mountain bike trails built around it. The Aquatics Centre will lose its wings and become a local swimming facility, operated by GLL, as well as hosting aquatic events and competitions. The Copper Box will become a local leisure facility and home to the London Lions, a basketball team newly-relocated from Milton Keynes. A proposal by iCity to transform the press and media buildings into a technology and research centre, part of the government’s Tech City corridor stretching from Hoxton to Stratford, is also being thrashed out.
The biggest question concerns the future of the Olympic Stadium. After the struggle between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur came to a bitter conclusion, the bidding process was reset. Currently four entities are in the running: the aforementioned Hammers, Leyton Orient FC, UFCB College of Football Business and, improbably, Formula One. A decision is expected in October. Whatever happens, its status as the country’s track-and-field home is assured: it will host the World Athletics Championships in 2017.
The park will be opened in two phases, with parts of North Park opening from 27 July 2013, the anniversary of the Olympic opening ceremony. South Plaza, the area encompassing the Orbit and the main stadium, will open from 2014; we recently saw some technicolour-heavy computer-generated images of how it might look.
More on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the website.