Saturday, September 29, 2012

Out of the Wood

BBC Twitterers alert me to the fact that the BBC is moving out, more or less, of Henry Wood House, the unlovely 1960s tower separated from Broadcasting House by All Souls church.

Auntie has 51 years left on its lease to sell, and developers Derwent London are believed to have picked it up, with interest from law firm Davenport Lyon. No word on the price paid, but Derwent estimate the value of the whole building at £50m to £75m. The BBC didn't use all the 15 floors - the upper part is the St George's Hotel. And it seems Auntie is holding onto the basement - largely as a major bicycle shed for the redeveloped Broadcasting House.

HWH (honour bound to use the acronym) has been the base for many a BBC project. In January and February 1993, we assembled the news and programme teams for the launch of Radio 5Live there, on the ground and fifth floors, as our proper offices in BH were under construction. The mourned reference library eeked out its last years there, before being converted to a Pizza Express. Many an HR pay and grading re-structuring team has been assembled and dismissed. And vast swathes of new media thinkers came and went. Always nicer to be in than to be looked at, it provided play space for a growing organisation - now in retreat.

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