Earls Court’s Olympic Swan Song

Capital and Counties’ buyout of the final 50 percent of London’s Earls Court and the neighbouring Olympia and Brewery venues is likely confirmation that it will be bulldozed after the 2012 Olympics.

Earls Court, one of the city’s largest and oldest entertainment venues, looks safe until after the Games, as it’s hosting volleyball. But the wrecking balls will likely move in before the end of 2012.

Capital and Counties, a subsidiary of the FTSE 100-listed property company Liberty International, has plans to clear the 26-acre site to make way for a new development “that would mean thousands of new homes and create thousands of jobs for local people.”

When parceled with two neighbouring pieces of land owned by Transport for London and the local Hammersmith and Fulham council, it makes a 70-acre site – enough room for 120 soccer pitches – and much of it will become a huge residential area that will straddle the border with the neighbouring borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

CapCo chief investment officer Gary Yardley says his company is looking at “a comprehensive redevelopment” that replaces Earls Court with housing, but it’s also looking at refurbishing Olympia to take on Earls Court’s exhibition business.

Yardley acknowledged the main building – which was built in the ’30s – has restrictions in terms of what it can be used for. He says in the long term the building would need a major refurbishment and overhaul.

It looks as if The Brewery won’t be affected by the redevelopment.

Full details of the value of the Capco buyout haven’t been made public as parent firm Liberty International is about to announce its annual results.