EPR has been given the go-ahead for all-new plans to convert Transport for London’s (TfL)Grade 1 listed former headquarters building at 55 Broadway overlooking St James Park into a hotel. The scheme replaces an earlier, abandoned proposal by Tate Hindle, which would have transformed the 14-storey Charles Holden-designed 1929 landmark into luxury flats.
Tate Hindle won permission for its contentious residential-led overhaul of the Portland stone-clad gem TfL subsequently sold the steel-frame block, regarded as London’s first skyscraper, to entrepreneur Tony Matharu’s Integrity International Group, on a 150-year lease.
Due to the exceptional architectural interest of the building and its position as a milestone in 20th-century design, including its status as London’s ‘first skyscraper’, the building received Grade I-listed status in 2011. This was upgraded from Grade II listing in 1970.
Transport for London sold the 55 Broadway Complex in the summer of 2019 and vacated the building in 2020.
Prior to the £120 million deal, former deputy chair of TfL Daniel Moylan had warned that any proposed sale would be ‘a tragedy’, describing the Art Deco building as ‘the jewel in the crown of TfL’s design heritage’.
TfL’s decision to move out and release the property on a long-term lease had also been condemned by one-time London Underground design chief Mike Ashworth, London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon and conservation specialist Richard Griffiths. During Boris Johnson’s London mayoralty, Moylan, then a key adviser to Johnson, commissioned a report in 2012 which concluded that the building could be modernised to provide ‘good refurbished offices’ for the transport body.
In 2020 Westminster Council waved through EPR’s hotel, conference venue and leisure plans for the building and wider ‘Broadway Complex’, which includes 55 Broadway, 100 Petty France and Wing Over Station, and which straddles St James’s Park Tube station.
Blue Orchid Hotels, part of the Integrity International Group, will run the 520-room hotel.
According to the project’s development team, the approved scheme will ‘celebrate the building’s rich history by sensitively restoring its unique features and opening up this iconic landmark for the first time through its imaginative repurposing’.
Matharu added: ’Having worked closely with TfL and a number of other stakeholders, I feel we have a shared vision for the future of this complex. As guardian of the heritage and historical value throughout the buildings, I feel privileged to lead this exciting project. To breathe life into the space, create new value and welcome everyone to enjoy this special property will be very rewarding.”
Updates on the project will be announced in due course.
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