10 July 2005 – Nick Mathiason
The London Olympic Games will create huge fortunes for some of the richest men in the UK. The biggest windfall will go to the billionaire Reuben brothers, who made their cash buying and selling Russian aluminium businesses.
The Reubens, born in Bombay to Iraqi parents of Jewish descent, are developing land next to Stratford International channel tunnel rail terminal, which is where the Olympic village will be located. With property tycoon Stuart Lipton, embattled Australian construction firm Multiplex, and Westfield, the Australian shopping centre developer, they are behind plans for a huge retail, residential and office complex that will transform Stratford. The land is owned by London & Continental Railways but the developers can now expect to make billions from the scheme.
Other beneficiaries of the ‘Olympic effect’ include David Taylor, a former special adviser to John Prescott. He is developing 5,000 homes at Royal Victoria Dock, close to Canary Wharf. A director of Preston North End football club who was involved in two failed bids by Manchester to host the Olympics, Taylor expects interest in the area to go into overdrive; he says he will start construction this year.
One of Ireland’s richest property tycoons, Sean Mulryan, should also cash in. The former stonemason, worth £150m, owns Ballymore Properties, which is building 8,000 homes in the Docklands close to the Olympic zone.
The London Development Agency, the mayor’s regeneration body, has been acquiring land in the Olympic zone for the last four years. It will expect to recoup much of its investment as it sells it off again to private developers.
Meanwhile, the Games will be a windfall for London property PR consultants – in particular, the London Communication Agency and Tamesis, now owned by Financial Dynamics, which both specialise in public affairs advice to urban regeneration projects.