Olympic media centre will get "Silicon Valley" revamp
LONDON (Reuters) - The Olympic media centre is poised to be transformed into a site for London's burgeoning technology sector once the Games have left town, after one of only two bidders for the project withdrew and also criticised the selection process.
A consortium called UK Fashion Hub had planned to turn the 1 million square foot site in east London into a centre for the UK's fashion and textile industries but has told the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which will oversee development of the area after the games, that it is pulling out.
The withdrawal leaves the way clear for the so-called iCity bid, which includes data centre manager Infinity and an unnamed property company. Its proposal fits with British Prime Minister David Cameron's vision for London's East End to become a technology centre to rival California's Silicon Valley.
"Press coverage over the past two days has reported leaks that suggest a decision has already been taken to appoint iCity as the preferred bidder, despite the LLDC board meeting scheduled for 17 July to make that decision," UK Fashion Hub (UKFH) said in a statement on Friday.
"This, and other issues, have compounded the unease felt by the UKFH team that the process has not been as transparent as it should be and therefore the decision has been taken to withdraw," it said.
This follows a decision by the consortium's principal backer, Resolution Property, to pull its support for the proposal.
The eastern fringe of central London is already home to an area branded Tech City by the Cameron government, a district spanning the Shoreditch and Old Street neighbourhoods that has attracted scores of internet start-up companies over the past five years.
The LLDC is expected to officially choose the winning bidder next week.
During the Games, the media centre - located to the northwest of the Olympic Stadium - will be used by more than 20,000 journalists. Under iCity's plans, it will be turned into offices, research labs and a data centre in a bid to create more than 6,000 jobs.
In relation to the overall bid process, a spokesman for the LLDC said: "No decision has been taken on the future of the Press and Broadcast Centre. We cannot give further details while the commercial process is ongoing."
It was not immediately available to comment on the UKFH statement.
A spokesman for iCity declined comment.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Tom Bill, David Holmes and Jane Merriman)
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