The London Development Agency has hired one of America’s best renowned urban planners to ensure the long-term future of the Olympic Park.
Andrew Altman, the deputy mayor for economic development in Philadelphia, becomes chief executive of the UK’s Olympic legacy company in August, taking responsibility for turning the Olympic Park into a thriving business and events area once the games have finished.
Altman developed a reputation for civic regeneration after the Anacostia Project in Washington DC; a campaign to upgrade the neglected river front. His £195,000-a-year appointment satisfies Mayor Boris Johnson’s request for a “big hitter” to regenerate the Olympic Park after 2012.
His selection fills a hole created by the outgoing urban regeneration expert Tom Russell – picked by Johnson’s predecessor Ken Livingstone – who was dismissed in April after just one year in the role.
A spokesman for the Mayor’s office tells conference-news that aside from a higher education centre, specific park regeneration details, including the possibility of exhibition, conference and meeting facilities, were not yet available due to an ongoing feasibility study.
“It’s very much an open brief, and nothing’s fixed in stone as yet, but the development plan does include a higher education academic facility, so the area will attract a big business element,” said the spokesman, adding that conference and meeting facilities would be a “likely” feature.
The Olympic legacy company, chaired by Baroness Ford, takes over from the London Development Agency.