Anish Kapoor’s Olympic Park ArcelorMittal Orbit tower lost £520,000 in 2014-15. Figures in a report released by the local development agency which oversees the attraction show that the tower is burning £10,000 each week. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) predicted a profit of £1.2m. The Labour leader at the London Assembly, Len Duvall, labelled it it a “pointless monument at vast taxpayer expense”.
Legacy defended the project, saying it was “one of the big successes of the 2012 Games”. The sculpture/tower, funded by the ArcelorMittal steel company to the tune of £16 million received £3m in public funds It opened in 2012 as an observation tower. but was not used during the Olympic games due to fears of terrorism. The attraction was closed and adapted for purpose, reopening last April. “It’s clear that this is yet another Boris Johnson vanity project of towering proportions Mr Duvall stated in an interview. “Instead of paying back some of the £3m of taxpayer investment the Orbit is actually losing £10,000 a week, an awful record even by Boris’ standards.” A spokeswoman for LLDC said: “The ArcelorMittal Orbit was one of the standout successes of the 2012 Games and has seen almost 200,000 visitors since reopening in 2014, which is a tremendous achievement.”
The LLDC downgraded expectations from visitors from 350,000 per year to 150,000, stating it was “constantly looking at ways to enhance the experience to attract more people”. Plans to add a giant slide by the artist Carsten Holler utilising the length of the tower were approved last summer and construction is expected to finish in 2016.This is expected to increase visiter numbers.
Opinion: This was never one of Mr Kapoor’s best works. It is awkward both in form and location. As with most Olympic sites it is situated in a bit of a ghost town for accessibility to central London. The View from the tower is also quite industrial and unattractive.