News International to Sell Its Commercial Property at Wapping

Posted on 14 September, 2011 by MOVEHUT

News International, the media organisation that is home to The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and Sky, has announced it is abandoning plans to redevelop its 15-acre site at Wapping in east London and plans instead to sell it into the commercial property market.

No agent is yet involved in handling the sale but the process is expected to be put out to tender sometime soon. No doubt there will be much interest in the commercial property that has been the centre of media revelation and revolution for so long.

Initially the company had planned to overhaul the commercial property on the site and build a London media campus to house its other business interests – HarperCollins, Myspace, Dow Jones and Fox – all of which will now need to find other commercial property homes a little further from the phone-tapping controversy and fallout.

However, a recent statement from News Corp, the organisation that owns News International, said: ‘The decision to sell the 15-acre site follows a review of News International’s London [commercial property] portfolio. The majority of News International’s Wapping-based editorial and commercial staff have now relocated into Thomas More Square, with the remainder to be relocated by the end of 2011.’ This suggests that mass redundancies, predicted when the scandal broke out into ridiculous repercussions last month, are not going to be as bad as suspected.

The new media campus at Wapping was to have been designed by Amanda Levete Architects, who have experience in redevelopingcommercial property in London and were also behind the modernisation of the Bullring in Birmingham. It was to have included a campus complex complete with roof gardens, and an 18m-high atrium and shops. Impressive plans for a commercial property which currently looks quite bland if the truth be told.

The Wapping site was almost sold in 2008; however, the decline in commercial property values in London following the collapse of the property market in 2008 meant that the plans were put on hold.

Most of the company’s staff have already moved off site to other nearby commercial property in London and will now stay there for the ‘foreseeable future’.

News International moved its operations from commercial property in Fleet Street to Wapping in London in 1986, in an attempt to break the grip of trade unions on the print media – what is regarded by many as a watershed moment for the British press.

What interest there will be in the commercial property at the Wapping site is yet to be seen but, in a capital that is crying out for good quality commercial property, so long as they present its best face, it’s sure not to be on the commercial property market for very long.


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