EXP has a grand vision of what we think an ideal mixed games venue looks like, and of the kinds of activities and services that such a venue can and should support. (See our corporate vision page for more information on our overall goals and objectives). However, we also realise that envisioning such a place, and making it a reality, are very different things.
To this end, while we have kept our sights firmly set on our end goal, we have also looked at the practical intermediary steps that need to be taken to make that dream a reality.
The first of these was to choose the right location for the customer market we are looking to support. London, of course, was something of a no-brainer decision on this front – the sheer number of customers we can reach in a location in the UK’s capital city is probably larger than anywhere else in the UK; London is a growing and well-connected global city with superlative transport links; and for the Directors of the company it is a familiar place that they have lived, worked and gamed in and around for much of their lives.
The second step was to look for the right physical location that could accommodate the scale of operation we want to deliver. That has been a challenge! In London, space is at a premium and finding something (either an existing building or an empty plot of land) large enough, available, economically viable and with the right transport and community infrastructure has been an adventure in itself.
While we are still searching for an ideal plot of land that can accommodate our needs for our permanent large-scale venue, we have identified an existing building from which we can launch a scaled-down but still impressive temporary operation. That temporary venue, in the Stratford area of East London close to the Olympic Park, is currently in the process of going live – you can head over to our Swan Wharf pages for more details on how this project is developing.
For an idea of how the bigger, permanent venue might look, see the plans at the bottom of the page.
There are many factors which, taken together, make this area a fantastic location for our venue.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding regeneration developments have transformed the local environment. Stratford is now one of the most vibrant and dynamic parts of London, experiencing growth in residential population, retail and leisure development.
The benefits include:
Transport into Stratford is truly unparalleled around the UK’s capital city. The list of connections and travel options to reach Stratford is highly impressive :
- the whole London Underground and Overground rail networks accessed via Stratford station with this improving further when Crossrail opens in 2018,
- the Docklands Light Railway, with three stations surrounding the area (Stratford, Stratford High St and Pudding Mill Lane),
- the national rail networks joining Stratford International with connections to Liverpool Street, the lines in from Essex, Kings Cross and St Pancras plus Ebbsfleet, the lines into Kent, Waterloo Station and the lines to Surrey.
- the international connections for the Eurostar Railway at Ebbsfleet and St Pancras,
- There are even direct rail connections to both London City and Stanstead airports,
- Finally, there are many local bus services and easy travel by car into the area (with easy parking in the Westfield Stratford City development).
Stratford has been transformed thanks to the huge investments made for and since the Olympic Games with new housing attracting residents into the area.
Huge improvements in amenities and entertainment facilities have revolutionised the employment and recreational options in the area.
This is helping to grow the local population (quite notably with our core demographics for games and play).
Existing thriving university and college sites surround the location.
New high-tech and creative industries are expanding – with opportunities for building sustainable links between learning, technology and play.
Even with all the massive investments and developments, there are real opportunities to bring benefits to the local communities – elements of the social and educational activities planned by EXP working with business, national education and community partners.
The Big Venue Vision
The EXP team have been working through various design options for our larger venue that can support and accommodate all the activities we want to offer customers and provide the space and layout needed to deliver these. The design has evolved over time but, currently, consists of a two-storey building 30 meters by 90 meters (with some associated landscaping and a small garden) plus some limited external space for deliveries and essential parking.
We hope the very basic design layout below provides an impression of our planned scale and the range of spaces and activities we are trying to provide. We would welcome feedback on our work so far and will continue to share our vision as it evolves.