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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Dome legacy is 'good for future'
The construction site of The O2
There venue will host events for the 2012 Games
Developers of the Millennium Dome are confident its legacy will be a help and not a hindrance to its future.

The venue in Greenwich, south-east London, is undergoing a 600m revamp to become an entertainment complex.

Renamed The 02, it is due to open in July 2007 and will house 11 cinema screens and a 23,000-seater arena.

David Campbell, AEG Europe president, said: "The fact that people start with such low expectations means there's only one way to go.. and that's up".

Tutankhamun exhibition

Up to 150 events are planned for the first year and the complex it to host basketball and gymnastic events for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The redevelopment of the Dome is part of a 4bn regeneration of the Greenwich area which will see 10,000 new homes, new offices, shops and a hotel.

It is thought the 02 will house a Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition in 2007.

Subject to obtaining the appropriate licence, it could also feature a casino. Other facilities include a theatre, ice rink, bars, restaurants and cafes.

an artist's impression of the new inside of the Millennium Dome, now called The O2
The O2 hopes to host acts like Madonna in its first year

On Wednesday, journalists were shown how the roof of the arena has now been hoisted onto eight huge concrete blocks to stand just four metres below the Dome's own 170ft-high roof.

They also saw work continuing on a giant "street" which will include shops, bars and restaurants and will be open to the public free of charge.

Former Dome minister Lord Falconer has said that the regeneration deal should give the government back about 550m over the next 20 years.

Troubled times

The 758m Dome had a troubled year after opening to the public in 2000.

There was much criticism of its contents and continued calls on National Lottery money to bail out the project when the estimated 12 million visitors' figure only reached just over six million.

Government regeneration agency English Partnerships has responsibility for the Dome, which is currently costing the agency around 35,000 a month to maintain.

English Partnerships will hand over full responsibility for the Dome to AEG when work inside is completed in 2007.

The government announced in October last year that maintaining the Dome between July 2001 and September 2005 had cost taxpayers more than 30m.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See how the development is progressing



SEE ALSO:
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22 Sep 05 |  UK Politics
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Dome to reopen as concert arena
25 May 05 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Dome development
25 May 05 |  In Pictures


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