Defeated Dome team to press on with Greenwich Legacy plan
Beaten Millennium Dome bidder Legacy is planning to carry on regardless and build its Lifschutz Davidsondesigned proposals for a hi-tech business park - on another site on the Greenwich peninsula.
The Robert Bourne-backed consortium, which last week lost out to Japanese giant Nomura in the controversial competition to buy out the Dome site, is looking at a new site on the Greenwich peninsula and one other in the capital on which to build an overarching structure similar in size to the Dome. Inside, it wants to build its flexible lightweight buildings to house e-businesses and young entrepreneurs and to encourage a village-like atmosphere, taking advantage of the excellent local information technology and wireless communications network prov ided by BT.
Alex Lifschutz told the AJ: 'We're looking at a couple of places on the peninsula but would have to create an environment. We've only just started talking but there's an enormous demand from universities and new technology companies. There's very few places where people can go.'
Greenwich council leader Chris Roberts said he plans to talk to the consortium to explore ways of accommodating its plans in the borough.
But Lifschutz slammed the award of the Dome to Nomura, arguing that it was far weaker in terms of genuine regenerational benefit and that its temporary entertainment use would 'blight' the area as has happened with other former exhibition sites: 'I just don't understand it, ' he said. 'I think it's a completely ridiculous scheme, with Greenwich getting lumbered with the Yellow Submarine.'
Legacy's proposals included shops, conference rooms, hotels, sports facilities and restaurants as well as work units, rented by use rather than area. It also included plans for a large park on the site, whereas Nomura opted to build on the total 17ha of land. But at the last minute Legacy offered to build on the park site by 'buying' the park, increasing its offer to £155 million. This was £50 million more than Nomura's bid, as revealed in the AJ last week, and has led to cries of outrage from the Conservative party. But it is understood that Legacy could only pay £50 million up front.
Nomura said it now plans to invest £400 million on 'radically revising the Dome' and a further £400 million on external buildings.
Inside the new Dome Europe there will be a line-up with less of a parochial appeal than its £758 million predecessor. Attractions will include: a 'bustling Hawkers Market' to showcase arts and crafts from across the continent; restaurants; 'spectacular shows and unique cultural events in a new amphitheatre and throughout the Dome'; and attractions based on Europe's past, present and future, drawing on art, literature, history and culture. There will also be sections devoted to innovations, gadgets and the science of tomorrow, including interactive games. A Dome Europe spokesperson said it was too early to talk about exact configurations and what happens to some of the Dome zones, although two are owned by their sponsors - Ford's Journey Zone and BT's Talk - both of which were designed by Imagination.
Outside, Dome Europe's architects and other consultants - including masterplanner Patrick Davies, the SMC Group, Fitch, Conran and Partners and Benoy, along with other 'top names' to be brought in - will design a mix of hotels, housing 'from affordable right through to luxury apartments', offices and a 'Greenwich beach' complex, made up of themed restaurants, music and performance spaces and 'unique' retail outlets. Skyscape, the megacinema hosted by BSkyB, will probably go, since it has a temporary permission like other items the New Millennium Experience Company chose to rent rather than buy.
Nomura said it is interviewing further architects to add to the team to make an outline planning application in around three months.