BT Tower In London Sold, And Will Become Luxury Hotel

The iconic BT Tower in central London is to undergo yet another change in function, after it is sold to a US hotel chain.

BT announced it has agreed to the sale of the BT Tower for £275m to MCR Hotels, “who plan to preserve BT Tower as an iconic hotel, securing its place as a London landmark for the future.”

The Grade II listed BT Tower was constructed between 1961 and 1964, with the primary purpose to support the microwave aerials then used to carry telecommunications traffic from London to the rest of the country.

BT Tower

The building has been employed for many other uses over the subsequent decades, including carrying TV broadcasting traffic.

It also hosted Top of the Tower restaurant, located at the revolving top floor of the structure.

In 2016 the BT Tower became the world’s highest building to host an Internet of Things (IoT) base station.

Now BT said it is selling the building, which is 177 metres (581 ft) high, with a further section of aerial rigging bringing the total height to 189 metres (620 ft).

Image credit: Unsplash

It said that “as the UK heads rapidly into an all-digital future, a number of network operations that were traditionally provided from BT Tower are now delivered via BT Group’s fixed and mobile networks.”

It cited the example of theTower’s microwave aerials being removed more than a decade ago, as they were no longer needed to carry telecommunications traffic from London to the rest of the country.

“The BT Tower sits at the heart of London and we’ve been immensely proud to be the owners of this important landmark since 1984,” said Brent Mathews, Property Director at BT Group.

“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.”

MCR Hotels own around 150 hotels, including the landmark Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Hotel in New York City.

BT said that payment for the sale will be made over multiple years, as BT Group equipment is progressively removed from the building, with final payment on completion of the purchase.

“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,” said Tyler Morse, CEO and owner of MCR Hotels.

Cost cutting

The sell-off is part of BT’s efforts to simplify its operations and lower costs, which includes reducing the number of offices from more than 300 to around 30.

BT it should be remembered, in a separate deal, sold its former headquarters, BT Centre, in July 2019 for £210 million and moved into a new headquarters in 2021 at One Braham, Aldgate.

Other cost cutting measures saw BT in May 2023 saying that it will cut 42 percent of its workforce by 2030.

That means that its total workforce will fall to between 75,000 and 90,000 by 2028-2030, from 130,000 employees – translating to 55,000 job losses.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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