LONDON, England -- Detailed plans for the stadium which will host the 2012 Olympic Games in London were unveiled by organizers on Wednesday.
An artists impression of the 80,000 capacity stadium which will be the centerpiece of the London 2012 Olympics.
The 80,000-seat venue in Stratford, East London will cost £496 million ($1.04 billion) and will be scaled down to a 25,000 capacity venue after the Games with its main use for athletics.
"In unveiling today's images I want that to be the unveiling of a journey for the next five years," said former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe, head of the London 2012 organizing committee, at a press conference.
"The stadium...is a stadium for a completely new era."
The design includes a sunken bowl featuring permanent seating for 25,000 spectators, with the remaining 55,000 seats in a temporary structure at the top.
The stadium, which will have a roof covering about two thirds of the seating areas, is surrounded by water on three sides.
Design chief Rob Sheard said that the Olympic flame might not be attached to the stadium itself, but placed just north of the venue.
Construction will begin next year and finish by the summer of 2011.
The cost of the development has jumped in price from the 280 million pounds estimated in 2004 but Olympics minister Tessa Jowell believes it is value for money.
"This is a very important Olympic milestone and this stadium is focused very much on legacy and sustainability.
"Once the Games are over this will then be translated into a stadium that will not only host grand prix athletics events and other national sport events but will also serve the communities of the boroughs," she said.
London mayor Ken Livingstone explained that major football clubs such as Premier League West Ham would not be able to become tenants of the stadium.
He said: "We made a commitment that there would be a permanent athletics facility and we have honored that commitment.
"For West Ham we have identified a site much better-suited to their needs," added Livingstone who said that lower-flight football clubs might still occupy the stadium after the Games.
The London Olympics are helping to regenerate a deprived part of the city, and the permanent stadium will be a key part of that.
"It's a stadium that will be inspiring, it will be a stadium that will have a lasting legacy," said Coe. E-mail to a friend