One of London’s most famous music and exhibition venues faces an uncertain future after the 2012 Olympics, after a new owner bought the land it sits on. Developer Capital and Counties (Capco) has acquired the remaining stake of the site of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, home to the Brit Awards. “We envisage a large scale residential-led development at Earls Court,” said a Capco spokesman. “In terms of the venue, no final decisions have been taken,” he added. But Capco said “up to 8,000 new homes” could be built on the land.
“We are presently exploring the option of an enhancement of our world class exhibition centre at Olympia rather than replacing the current exhibition centre at Earls Court,” he added. Paul Colston, managing editor of Exhibition News website, said: “There’s a £22bn events industry in the UK and this is a real blow. London will be losing its flagship exhibition venue in the UK.” “This will hurt the whole industry because its the flagship exhibition venue and not easily replaceable.” Mr Colston said London may lose out to other cities in the exhibition and events market. “International business tourists spend three times as much as other tourists so London’s hotels and restaurants will also lose out,” he said.
“The big shows will have to look elsewhere and London could lose out. “It will be good for London’s rivals like Birmingham’s NEC.”
BBC News at 14:52 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010