x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Qatari Diar among London Olympic Village contenders

One of Qatar's government investment vehicles is revealed among the bidders for the purchase and management of the Olympic Village after the 2012 Games in London.

Qatari Diar Real Estate, the investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, is on the shortlist of candidates for the purchase and long-term management of London's Olympic Village after the Olympic Games in 2012.

The bid, submitted jointly by Qatari Diar and Delancey, the investment advisory, is the latest in a series of moves by Qatar's state-owned investment funds to acquire trophy assets in the British capital.

David Higgins, the chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is responsible for developing the site and infrastructure for the Games, said: "Securing a shortlist with many of the leading property investors and managers both in the UK and around the world takes us an important step towards ensuring the Village becomes one of the strongest legacies from the Games.

"Securing best value will be key alongside looking for the best legacy owner for the Village," he said. "Shortlisted bidders will need to demonstrate the experience and expertise needed to realise the long-term potential of the Village, establishing a complete neighbourhood with the best of city living all in one place, offering choices for all."

The Olympic Village, which will house 17,000 athletes and trainers during the competition, will be developed into 2,818 new homes to provide a positive legacy for east London after the Games have ended.About half of the development has already been purchased by Triathlon Homes to become housing for some of London's poorest families.

The site could serve as a useful test case for Qatar's ability to manage residential facilities before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to Craig Plumb, the headof MENA research at Jones Lang LaSalle, which is advising the ODA on a number of tenders.

"There's going to be residential accommodation built and managed. It will show that they have experience of managing large-scale residential projects for 2022," said Mr Plumb.

He said the purchase would also help Qatar to approach the World Cup with a better understanding of sustainable development, so that its facilities would not lie vacant after the event.

Mr Plumb said Qatari Diar was starting to show interest in sections of the property market that were "more in line with purchaser demand, rather than focusing on luxury or upper end of the market, which has become saturated".

"It's a sign of the maturity of organisations like Qatari Diar," he said.

"Instead of building new facilities they're getting into the management of existing ones."

Qatari Diar is currently involved in the construction of The Shard, a 1,017ft glass triangle on the south side of the Thames in London that will be the tallest tower in Europe when it is completed in 2012.