Versatile ExCel to be home to six sports
THE OLYMPICS will firmly establish ExCel as London’s premier entertainment venue.
Covering 100 acres, the huge building will be the host to four separate arenas in 2012 and stage six sports, boxing, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling. Each of the areas will seat between 6,000 and 10,000 spectators.
ExCel already has a sporting pedigree as it is home to the hugely popular annual London Triathlon and has staged major world boxing title fights.
ExCel opened in November 2000 in what was one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects and has hosted more than 3,000 major events since then.
The project began in 1988 when the originating architect, Ray Moxley, was approached by the Association of Exhibition Organisers to locate and design a new exhibition centre within the M25.
A turning point was reached when the Royal Victoria Dock site was found, with three Docklands Light Railway stations on the site, the Jubilee line just two stops away, City Airport just three minutes away and the M25 and M11 just 20 minutes away. The centre’s transport links are also complemented by its close proximity to the River Thames.
Royal Victoria Dock was originally a working dock opened by Prince Albert in 1855. It was the first design to take iron steam ships and the first to use hydraulic cranes and lifts to raise ships and specialised in tobacco, South American beef, New Zealand, citrus fruit and bananas.
Traffic through the Royal Docks reached its peak in the 1950s and early 1960s. After that containerisation and other technological changes and a switch in Britain’s trade following EEC membership led to a rapid decline. The dock finally closed in 1981.
Keen to redevelop the Docklands, the London Docklands Development Corporation launched an international competition to appoint a preferred developer that was won by the ExCeL London team.
ExCeL London is a public company with a significant portion of private funding. Nearly £130m of bonds is traded on the Luxemburg stock exchange and a shareholding structure that is held 75 per cent by a Malaysian corporate-equity consortium and 25 per cent that is owned by major UK financial institutions.