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London has been awarded £67.5M ($103M) in contracts to redevelop the Olympic Stadium and also "plans to construct the U.K.'s biggest indoor ski slope," according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG. London Mayor Boris Johnson said that Australia's Westfield Group "will be making a planning application for the city's first indoor ski center next to its Stratford shopping center at the Olympic Park by the end of the summer." Johnson said the ski center forms part of "an astonishing economic story of regeneration of east London." Johnson and the London Legacy Development Corp. also announced a £41M ($62M) contract with Balfour Beatty Plc. to build a new roof that will help turn the Olympic Stadium into "an all-round multi-use venue" that is fit to deliver a lasting sporting and commercial legacy in east London (BLOOMBERG, 7/25). In London, Pippa Crerar wrote London's first indoor ski center "will feature several runs of varying difficulty, snowboard ramps and an ice-skating rink." It is believed the project, which will cost up to £200M ($307M), "could be ready to open" in '15. The longest run will be 300 meters -- twice the length of the next biggest one in the U.K. -- "recreating Alpine skiing conditions." There will also be toboggan runs and snow-play zones "where children and beginners can get used to the sub-zero temperatures." Johnson said, "One year on from London's Olympic and Paralympic Games and we are defying the sceptics who prophesied a herd of white elephants" (EVENING STANDARD, 7/25).
NEW ROOF: CONSTRUCTION NEWS' Sarah Dennis wrote Balfour Beatty will dismantle and remove the Olympic Stadium's existing roof and floodlight towers in the first part of the works, "while a cable net system will support the new roof," with 600-ton cranes operating within the stadium to then tandem lift the supporting roof steelwork into place. When completed, "the roof will be twice its original size." Work "is due to start in the autumn with completion set for spring" '15 (CONSTRUCTION NEWS, 7/25).
Essex County Cricket Club "has announced that work has commenced on the first phase" of its £85M ($130M) redevelopment, according to LONDON24. Contractors "are now on site with the first enabling works already completed." The development will deliver "a new cricket centre, pavilion, media centre and bar, club shop and stadium upgrade, increasing the capacity from 4,500 to 7,500 seats." The pavilion "will offer extensive catering and event facilities, and will be Chelmsford’s premier banqueting venue." These facilities "will be built as part of the next two phases" expected to start in '14. A new public piazza "will form the heart of the scheme, featuring retail and leisure facilities, with pedestrian footbridge access to the city centre." Luxury apartment living "will be brought to the city across four stylishly designed towers, three located adjacent to the River Cam" (LONDON24, 7/24).
League One football club Leyton Orient Chair Barry Hearn has claimed EPL side West Ham's move to the Olympic Stadium has been so underwritten by public money that it is "state sponsorship beyond my wildest dreams," according to the PA. West Ham is due to become anchor tenants at the stadium in '16 but Hearn claims that is "not a done deal" because of his ongoing judicial review and legal action against the Premier League. Hearn, giving evidence to the House of Lords committee on Olympic and Paralympic legacy on Wednesday, said, "We have ended up in situation where we have gifted £500 million ($766M) of tax-payers' money to a Premier League club that has a turnover of more than £100 million ($153M). It's a wonderful gift, but if I was an Arsenal fan, I would wonder why we bothered paying to build a new stadium" (PA, 7/25).