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Contractors set to enter talks over vision for the Olympic Park

Talks will begin imminently between the Olympic Park Legacy Company and contractors over ambitious plans drawn up for developing the Olympic Park after the 2012 games.

The OPLC last week published its plans for the transformation of the park - including up to 11,000 new homes and several related community facilities.

London mayor Boris Johnson said the vision for the park in Stratford, east London, was the most ambitious in the capital for hundreds of years.

OPLC executive director of real estate Duncan Innes told Construction News: “Between now and Christmas, we will be talking to developers and contractors. As part of soft market testing, we will be holding a number of informal workshops.”

Mr Innes said the post-Olympic plans were split into seven development zones but that OPLC was yet to decide how to package the work. “We could chunk the work into 150-unit parcels, or we could find a development partner for a whole zone of 900 units.”

Such a development partner model would be likely to follow the Athletes’ Village scheme, where Lend Lease is building a number of the blocks itself and managing contractors to build the others.

The OPLC is seeking a mix of international experience and homegrown talent from its legacy developers. Mr Innes said subcontractors already on the Olympic site had a good chance of winning work after the Games.

“They know the form, and they can price jobs because they know the local materials and labour markets,” he said.

OPLC chief executive Andrew Altman said it was hoped that the first phase of the legacy development would be on site by early 2014. He added that it was hoped developers would be in place and “putting their teams together” before the 2012 Games.

Five neighbourhoods with family homes will be at the heart of the renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Four in 10 of the homes will have three bedrooms or more as the mayor seeks to encourage families to stay in the capital.

A network of facilities will be created to service the homes, including schools, health centres and community spaces. Existing procurement routes such as the academies framework and ProCure 21+ are likely to be used for these.

A creative district will be created in the north-west of the site, and a studio suite will exist to the south.

Mixed-use commercial and residential developments will be developed by 2030 under the plans, and the Olympic venues will be transformed to fulfil community aims. They will reopen between 2013 and 2015, with sporting and cultural events expected to be held in the park.

Mr Johnson confirmed that the OPLC, which is responsible for the long-term development of the park, would become a mayoral development corporation. This means it will report directly to the mayor, giving him or her greater power over the development.

Meanwhile, Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins revealed that the publication of the Olympic Park development plans was a critical factor in him feeling ready to leave the body.

Mr Higgins will finish at the ODA in February to take the helm of rail infrastructure operating company Network Rail.

Mr Higgins said: “This is a big milestone, which ensures the legacy of the project. Our relationship with the Olympic Park Legacy Company and with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games means the changeover will be seamless.”

He added: “We are on track with where we promised to be. I am confident there will be no surprises on time or cost now.”