Laing O’Rourke has signed a £600m deal to deliver the main construction works for the redevelopment of the Olympia exhibition site in London
The contract with Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International (DFI) prompts the beginning of demolition works at Olympia Central, as Trafalgar Entertainment is confirmed as the tenant of the site’s new 1,575-seat theatre.
Work is beginning on a total of seven new buildings – including the previously announced citizenM and Hyatt Regency hotels, plus the 4,400 capacity live music venue that will be run by AEG Presents.
Olympia Central Hall will be demolished while the structures of Olympia National and Olympia Grand, both Grade II listed, are being incorporated into the site’s overall redevelopment.
The works will be delivered by Laing O’Rourke following its successful completion of a year’s worth of enabling works on the site. Utilising the company’s Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA) capability, the buildings’ walls and floors, and a large proportion of the M&E services, will be manufactured offsite in their Nottinghamshire and Oldbury factories.
The developers anticipate a total of 80,000m³ of bulk excavation at the site – the equivalent of 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Due to the size of the site and the number of buildings included in the works, construction will utilise a total of 13 tower cranes and 10 hoists.
‘An important and historic moment’
Paul McNerney, director of UK building at Laing O’Rourke, said: “This marks a significant milestone, allowing our team to progress to the main construction work after a year of successfully delivering significant enabling works, through a pandemic.
“We are proud of our appointment as construction partner. By harnessing our experience of complex and city-shaping projects together with our focus on modern methods of construction, we look forward to delivering this world-class complex for London and bringing Yoo Capital and DFI’s compelling vision to reality.”
Lloyd Lee, managing partner at YOO Capital, commented: “This is an important and historic moment in the redevelopment of Olympia. Olympia Central first opened in 1930 and now we bid farewell as we usher in an exciting new era for the site and London as a whole.
“Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, works are well on schedule. In fact, from a construction perspective, we have been really fortunate and have taken maximum advantage of the exhibition areas being vacant so everyone on site has been able to spread out and maintain social distancing.”
Gavin Neilan, co-founder and co-managing partner of DFI, added: “Our investment into this project was predicated on our conviction that, while Olympia is a hugely important and iconic venue which has a rich and successful 130-year history, it still has tremendous untapped potential.
“Commencing construction today marks a significant step in realising our vision to truly unlock that potential by creating a vibrant new cultural, leisure and business hub for London, where visitors and office workers can enjoy a diverse spectrum of exceptional experiences and companies can showcase their products.
“The number of exciting and high profile occupiers already signed up and the addition today of Trafalgar as the theatre operator, provide a clear demonstration that our vision to make Olympia’s next 130 years even more successful than its first, is shared.”