Earls Court owner EC&O Venues has told EN the group’s future lies at Olympia and that the loss of Earls Court is the “right thing for the industry”.
As the group unveils new branding for its Olympia venue, including a £30m redevelopment, at the AEO Conference it is hosting today (31 January), group MD Nigel Nathan insists it’s time for the industry to move on.
“We appreciate some people have concerns about the plans for Earls Court, but ultimately our focus is on the expansion and improvements of Olympia and what this offers the industry,” said Nathan. “Therefore, while it will of course be sad to see Earls Court go, we think it is the right thing for the industry, and the company.”
Nathan, who added there is a surplus of event space in the capital, said EC&O Venues plans to build on the west London venue’s heritage this year.
“We enter 2013 by re-launching the space with the unveiling of a new, contemporary brand identity that will accompany us on our journey into the next 125 years,” he said.
As part of the project the venue previously known as Olympia Two will be renamed Olympia Central, which the group claims will be a more flexible space suited to launch events. Upgrades include infilling the atrium space on the first and second levels and a refurbishment of the facilities in the Conference Centre.
The event industry has taken the fight for Earls Court’s survival to the corridors of Whitehall in a bid to force a public inquiry on its proposed closure.
Back in November, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea followed the decision by its neighbouring west London Hammersmith and Fulham Council to approve plans toredevelop the Earls Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area. The plans will see the area developed into a new urban district containing 7,500 new homes.
However there is ongoing industry support to retain the aging Earls Court venue which most recently saw international exhibition association UFI petition business secretary Vince Cable.
For the full story, read February’s EN.
Last year, EC&O completed the refurbishment of Olympia Two.
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