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Wellcome and PLP’s £1 billion Olympic Park bid rejected

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The Wellcome Trust and PLP Architecture’s £1 billion bid to buy the freehold of the entire Olympic Park in east London has been rejected by the government

A letter from culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and London mayor Boris Johnson to the Wellcome Trust has made it clear that the government will not stop talks with rival bidders over the purcahse of the Athletes Village which threaten to derail the health science charity’s offer to buy the park.

Last month, the organisation appointed PLP Architecture as part of a team to work on an audacious bid for the freehold ownership of the entire Olympic Park in east London. That bid was conditional on Wellcome also being handed the Athletes Village.

However the future of the £1 billion offer looked uncertain from the start as it emerged that ministers had entered into exclusive negotiations with Delancey and Qatari Diar over the £500 million sale of the 2,800-home Athletes Village.

The letter however asked Wellcome to maintain its interest in the wider freehold purchase of the park, suggesting there could be a future auction of the 312 hectare site. A spokesperson for the Wellcome Trust confirmed the bid was now entirely off and would not be revived in any modified form.

A key bargaining chip on the table was Wellcome Trust’s and PLP’s offer to transform the International Broadcast Centre into a Life Sciences Innovation Centre (pictured).

The plans by PLP with AKT II, BDSP, Davis Langdon and Gillespies would convert the centre into two universities and create 7,000 jobs, it is claimed.

Wellcome Trust is the only organisation known to have tabled an offer for the entire site, which the government calls an ‘east London tech city’.

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson said: ‘Ministers and the Mayor have agreed that the ODA should conclude the sale of the Olympic Village.

‘This rules out holding a new competition for a wholesale deal for the Village and the OPLC Olympic Park assets together and we have written to the Wellcome Trust to inform them of this decision. We recognise the contribution Wellcome Trust has made to life science, health and the UK economy and they are free to put forward bids for any future competitions for assets on the Olympic Park.’

Peter Pereira Gray, managing director of Wellcome Trust’s Investment Division said: ‘The Wellcome Trust is disappointed that the Government and the Mayor of London do not wish to take our proposals for the Olympic Park further.

‘If our bid had been successful, our holistic vision for the Olympic Park and the legacy would have delivered a world-class centre for technology and innovation, up to 7,000 high quality new jobs and made a substantial contribution to the regeneration of East London.

‘Wellcome’s bid was anchored on a compelling vision for the future of the Olympic park, going beyond bricks and mortar to focus on driving up economic growth and prosperity for the people of East London.  We nevertheless hope that Government and the GLA will get the best deal for Londoners.’


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