Future Tech

London’s famous BT Tower will become a hotel after £275M sale

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 22 Feb 2024, 06:27 AM
Tan KW
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Future Tech

BT has agreed to sell off its iconic BT Tower for £275 million ($346 million) to a company that intends to convert the central London landmark into a hotel.

The UK's former state-owned telecoms giant said it has sold the BT Tower to US-based hotel owner-operator MCR Hotels, which aims to preserve the Grade II listed building.

Originally known as the Post Office Tower, the 177 meter (581 ft) high structure was built in 1964 primarily as a communications tower that supported microwave antennas used to beam telecom signals between London and the rest of the country.

However, BT said that as telecoms technology has evolved, the use of the building has changed. The microwave aerials were removed more than a decade ago, as they were no longer required as part of the country's telecoms infrastructure.

The BT Tower was also an important site for BT Group's Media & Broadcast business, as a global interchange point for live television. The company said the Media & Broadcast division has already started migrating services to its cloud-based platform, making the move to more modern premises easier.

BT signed a five-year agreement with cloud giant AWS back in 2022 to help with this migration of internal applications and services to the cloud and speed up the company’s digital transformation.

In a statement, BT Group's property director Brent Mathews hailed the BT Tower as an important landmark and said the company was immensely proud to have been its owner.

"It's played a vital role in carrying the nation's calls, messages and TV signals, but increasingly we're delivering content and communication via other means. This deal with MCR will enable BT Tower to take on a new purpose, preserving this iconic building for decades to come," he said.

The move out of the towering structure will not be immediate. BT said that payment for the sale will be made over six years, as the company's equipment is gradually removed from the building, with final payment on completion of the purchase.

MCR Hotels owner and CEO Tyler Morse said in a canned statement: "We are proud to preserve this beloved building and will work to develop proposals to tell its story as an iconic hotel, opening its doors for generations to enjoy."

The BT Tower is also famous for its rotating restaurant located near the top of the building on the 34th floor, from where patrons were treated to a spectacular panoramic view of England's capital city. This was closed in 1981, but was used for corporate hospitality events for some years afterwards.

We asked MCR Hotels if it intends to revive the restaurant as part of its hotel plans, but a spokesperson told us it was too early to say, as the design and planning process has yet to be started.

The BT Tower also famously fell victim to a giant kitten in an episode of the 1970s TV comedy series The Goodies.

One urban myth about the BT Tower was that it did not appear on Ordnance Survey maps. This was because the tower was designated an official secret because of its importance to the UK's national telecoms network, if a 177 meter high structure in the middle of London could be regarded as any kind of secret. ®

 

https://www.theregister.com//2024/02/21/bt_sells_off_londons_bt_tower/

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