Stratford has gained its fair share of substantial developments throughout the last decade, some of which include the Olympic Stadium, the London Aquatics Centre, the ArcelorMittal Orbit and Westfield shopping centre, and now there´s one more to be added to the list: The Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sphere.
The business announced development plans in February 2018 before filing planning documents just over a year later; the plans received support from then Culture Secretary Matt Hancock and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
In March this year, MSG sent a planning application to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for a spherical entertainment complex estimated to be 90 metres high and 120 metres wide that will encompass restaurants, shops, a nightclub and a 21,500-capacity auditorium.
The venue’s capacity would push it to the top spot of the UK’s largest concert arenas, beating Manchester Arena (21,000) and London´s O2 Arena (20,000).
The Madison Square Garden Company is an American sports and entertainment company based in New York City. An almost identical MSG Sphere is currently under construction in Las Vegas, specifically Paradise, Nevada, and is due to be completed by 2021.
MSG has purchased a 1.9-hectare (4.7-acre) site in Stratford that was previously used as a coach park during the 2012 London Olympics to situate the 120m by 90m structure. The grand design has been produced by Populous, the architecture firm behind Wembley Stadium.
According to a planning document, the sphere will be covered in LED panels showcasing high-definition concert footage or advertisements that will be seen from 150 metres away.
Four months ago, a petition created by locals exposed many worries that residents have about the new development. The petition argues that the venue will block sunlight, create light pollution and increase traffic in the area. Others have opposed MSG for the reason that the CEO, James Dolan, has previously donated funds to Donald Trump and was on the board of the Weinstein Company from 2015-16.
Jayne McGivern, MSG’s executive vice-president of development and construction, said: “This is an opportunity to take an inaccessible coach park and use it to support thousands of jobs, and billions of pounds of economic benefit.”
Analysis conducted by EY on behalf of MSG suggests the project will create 4,300 jobs across the three-year construction phase, and then generate £2.7bn of revenue over 20 years, supporting 3,200 jobs annually.