Huge new London Olympia arena will also have bars, theatre, roof terrace and Berlin-style speakeasy in £1.3bn redevelopment

The revamped Olympia Exhibition Centre is planned to be opened in 2025
-Credit: (Image: Olympia)

A slew of provisional licences have been approved for bars, a theatre and a 4,000-person music arena as part of a major £1.3 billion West London redevelopment. Over three sessions earlier this week, Hammersmith and Fulham Council approved 10 applications from Olympus Property Holdings Limited as it progresses its revamp of the Olympia Exhibition Centre.

The local authority had previously given the green light for amenities such as hotels and restaurants, ahead of the complex’s planned opening next year. The Olympia redevelopment scheme, approved by the council in 2019, will see the site transformed into a new 'cultural landmark', delivering venues from art and entertainment spots to offices.

Split across three Licensing Sub-Committee meetings held on Tuesday and Wednesday this week (May 28 and 29), members resolved to grant provisional licences for six hospitality spaces, including a champagne terrace and a roof bar; a theatre; a reworking of the former music hall Pillar Hall, to include a restaurant and ‘intimate 1920’s Berlin feel speakeasy bar’; a gym; and the music arena.

READ MORE: Plans to fill Olympia Events venue with restaurants and bars get one step closer to reality

The Olympia Exhibition Centre was used to host shows from The Toy Fair to the Ideal Home Show
The Olympia Exhibition Centre was used to host shows from The Toy Fair to the Ideal Home Show -Credit:Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Due to the ongoing construction of the site, Olympus applied for provisional statements for each of the spaces. If approved, these statements provide potential tenants with a means of establishing whether they will be granted a premises licence once building works are complete.

Potential issues of dispersal, due to the number of people to potentially be drawn to the complex, and noise were debated by committee members over the sessions. Cllr Wesley Harcourt asked specifically about any operational plans, to which he was told an events calendar is to be run so Olympus can stagger departures and arrivals.

Cllr Harcourt further queried about any discussions Olympus may have been having with Transport for London (TfL) regarding Kensington Olympia Station, due to the volume of people expected.

Dominic Holmes, Director of Development at Yoo Capital, said: “At the moment there are six trains an hour in each direction and we have provisionally agreed with Transport for London to fund the increase to something in the region of 7.6 trains an hour on average.”

Questions were also asked about the Roof Garden South Terrace Mezzanine, which Cllr Dominic Stanton put to the applicant appeared to be a ‘reimagining’ of a temporary pergola previously on the site, a point of concern raised in several objections filed by local residents.

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Jon Wallsgrove, solicitor for Incipio, which is to take on a number of the spaces, said the proposal “is not to have any sort of similar style of premises to the pergola which was there before…which effectively was more of a pop up than a permanent fixture”.

Ed Devenport, Chief Executive at Incipio, added: “This will not have semblances to what we did previously on a meanwhile basis. This is a much more premium, refined drinking and dining experience.”

On the music venue, Cllr Stanton asked about taxi provisions, estimating as many as 320 could be arriving and leaving for a full-capacity show. Mr Holmes responded saying there would be plans to ‘deconflict’ clashes with other big events in the complex, with several spaces available for pick up and drop off. The committee was also told signage would be erected to guide people in appropriate directions, with the intention of encouraging dispersal and staggered departures.

Across the applications, most are scheduled to close at midnight Monday to Sunday, with later times for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The music arena is set to close the earliest, with opening times between 8am and 11pm Monday to Sunday.

The Olympia has been a prime London venue for 130 years, hosting artists like Jimmy Hendrix and Pink Floyd as well as events such as crufts and the Ideal Home Show. It was bought by real estate investment firms Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, who bought it from Capital & Counties Properties PLC (Capco) for £296 million in 2017.

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