London Olympics site to become digital mega-hub
'Gizmos that I barely understand' will power my city, says mayor
Flamboyant London mayor Boris Johnson has formally inked a deal which will see the enormous press centre built for the 2012 Olympics turned into a "colossal super hangar" crammed with thousands of "digital and creative" workers who won't have needed to be "brilliant at school".
The London Legacy Development Corporation and iCity, the body set up to build the new tech cluster, have signed an agreement to turn The International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre (IBC/MPC) - from which the world's press covered the 2012 Olympics - into a "world-leading hub for the digital and creative industries".
It is estimated that the scheme will create up to 6,500 jobs and add some £450million to the British economy, including £340million to the local economy.
Announcing the plans, Mayor Boris said:
"This is going to be at the cutting edge of London's modern economy. London is clearly changing very fast, in a most interesting way and sectors that people didn't think would be that significant are suddenly employing tens of thousands of people. Look through Hackney Wick to Old Street Roundabout and you've got an amazing constellation of firms that are offering high quality employment.
"The jobs [on offer at iCity] are potentially open to people who haven't been brilliant at school or haven't got fantastic qualifications, but have a natural aptitude for dealing with gizmos that I barely understand. That to me is very promising."
The new iCity development is 40 per cent full already, with tenants lined up including BT Sport, Loughborough University and Infinity, who are building an enormous data centre nearby.
"We are on the verge of cracking the slightly un-snappily named IBC/MPC. I've suggested techno-drome as a possible name. The fact that 40 per cent of that colossal super hangar is now accounted for is a stunning achievement."
iCity is a joint venture between Delancey, a real estate firm, and Infinity SDC, the UK's leading data centre operator. Set in three main buildings, it will offer a 300,000 sq ft innovation centre, a 750 seat auditorium, office space and an educational centre.
The 140,000 square foot data centre will use 40 megavolt amperes (MVA) of power and will be the most powerful in Europe, according to Infinity SDC, as well as the greenest.
Gavin Poole, CEO of iCity, said: "iCity is at the heart of the economic and social legacy from London 2012. It will provide much needed infrastructure, commercial space and capacity for the digital and creative industries, the fastest growing sector of the UK economy." ®