How the Olympia London is being transformed
To most Londoners, the Olympia is ‘that part of the district line we do not visit’. A 10,000-capacity exhibition center, the Olympia is most certainly an impressive venue, but has had little to offer to consumers, aside from the occasional Rod Stewart concert. All this, however, is about to change. A £1.3bn redevelopment project is now underway that will transform the Olympia from a corporate event location to consumer hotspot by 2023. With two new hotels, a four-screen cinema, a huge theatre, arts rehearsal spaces, a jazz-club restaurant, cafés, retail outlets and 2.5 acres of pedestrian public space, the Olympia may well become a new Mecca for Londoners and tourists alike.
Some of you may be thinking, ‘Who in their right mind would launch a huge redevelopment project at a time like this?’ And one providing events, retail and hospitality venues, no less — three of the industries hit worst by the pandemic, still reeling from the damages. The answer, is someone with confidence in London’s ability to bounce back after a year of economic hardship. John Hitchcox, chairman and founder of YOO Capital, one of two main investors (alongside Deutsche Finance), explains: ‘It’s been a challenging year for the events, live entertainment, retail and hospitality sectors – but [this project] is a clear indication of confidence in both the city and this iconic landmark as a destination for culture and creativity.’ Hitchcox adds that the development ‘will give a real boost to the local economy, bringing in an extra £9m per year in consumer spending to Hammersmith & Fulham.’
The truth is that London, and the world, needs people like John Hitchcox to invest in the economy. Not simply for the jobs that will emerge from these investments, but for another crucial reason — to re-install confidence in the market. As Roosevelt said during the Great Depression, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’. Granted, we’ve also had a rather troublesome virus to be concerned about, but with the apparent success of the vaccination rollout, the world is just about ready to emerge from self-imposed hibernation. Market confidence, however, may take longer to return. Many people have begun exercising extreme financial caution, avoiding risks wherever possible and trying simply to hold on to what they have. Alan Jenkins of Quadrant2Design comments, ‘Risk aversion is understandable, advisable, even, in times of economic crisis. But we must absolutely start reinvesting if we are to undo some of the damage caused by the COVID pandemic.’ Moving forward, consumers and investors will have to regain some of their former self-assurance in order for the UK economy to make a full comeback.
With an end date projected for 2023, Londoners will have to wait a while before experiencing the new development, but the Olympia will go on hosting exhibitions in the meantime. Here is a list of upcoming events at the 133-year-old venue:
The National Wedding Show 2021
For every industry under the sun, there is an exhibition gathering the relevant businesses and suppliers. The same goes for weddings. The National Wedding Show is the ultimate destination for wedding planning, assembling a host of wedding specialists from bridal boutiques and florists to jewelers and caterers. It’s safe to say that anyone looking to plan a spectacular wedding in the near-future should be signing up for attendance which is between £10.00-£35.00.
Ideal Home Show Christmas 2021
Home shopping doesn’t have the most exciting reputation, but the organisers of Ideal Home Show know this, and are busy doing something about it. The multi-award-winning show brings together over 600 exhibitors from across the UK for a uniquely action-packed domestic shopping experience. If that’s not enough to convince you, there will be celebrity guests, high-tech home gadgets, live demonstration theatres, a beauty bar and catwalk.
Eat & Drink Spring 2022
In case you haven’t already put it together, this show is for those seeking culinary gratification. Organised by the same team behind Ideal Home Show, Eat & Drink 2022 will host some of the most UK’s most renowned chefs and TV cooks for interviews, demonstrations, and of course, live tastings. From fresh, handmade artisanal produce to cutting-edge cocktail mixology, there should be something to tickle the palates of all at this March exhibition.
Like many historic venues across London, the Olympia has seen scarce visitation since the shutdown of the events circuit last year. Now that we are beginning to peer from under our blanket of isolation, the Olympia is back hosting events, and the plan to redevelop the entire location comes as joyous news to all, especially those in nearby areas. Let us hope that decisions such as these start a chain reaction of market positivity, leading to more growth and more recovery.
Theo Reilly is an independent writer and multilingual translator whose goal is to counteract stale writing in business blogs. Theo has particular interest in business and marketing-related matters surrounding the online world, web design, exhibitions and events.
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