London’s music scene will be given a much-needed boost with the launch of a major new music venue as part of a £1.3bn overhaul of the Olympia exhibition centre.
The iconic west London site, which first opened its doors in 1886, has played host to some of the biggest names in pop and rock, including Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, though in recent years it has been more geared towards events and exhibitions.
Olympia looks set to regain its status as a major hub for live music, however, after owners Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance announced plans to build a 4,400-capacity venue.
The concert hall will be operated by AEG Presents, the live entertainment company behind festivals including British Summer Time in Hyde Park and All Points East. Its parent company AEG runs the O2 Arena.
It comes as part of a huge £1.3bn regeneration project at the Kensington site, which is due to be completed in 2024.
Olympia has also signed deals with Citizen M and Hyatt for two new hotels at the site and is in advanced talks with other potential occupiers.
The plans come as a major boost to London’s cultural sector following a sharp downturn prompted by months of lockdown.
It also represents a vote of confidence in the capital as the deadline for the Brexit transition period approaches.
In addition to the music venue and hotels, the development is set to boast a four-screen arthouse cinema, 1,500-seat theatre, restaurants, shops and cafes, as well as 550,000 square feet of office and coworking space.
“It’s been a challenging year for the events, live entertainment, retail and hospitality sectors – but having these three partners on board is a real positive for London and a clear indication of confidence in both the city and this iconic landmark as a destination for culture and creativity,” said John Hitchcox, chairman of Yoo Capital.
Steve Homer, chief executive of AEG presents, hailed a “very exciting opportunity”.
“Olympia is steeped in British music history as far back as Jimi Hendrix in the 60s,” he said. “AEG Presents are delighted to be part of the new development and we plan to create more iconic shows for London audiences.”
CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield are joint advisers on the leasing.