Wapping set for redevelopment following £150m sale
By Simon Nias Tuesday, 19 June 2012
The iconic former News International headquarters has been sold to Berkeley Group-subsidiary St George, which intends to convert it into a mixed use residential-led development.
Berkeley paid around £150m for the 15 acre site - more than 33 times as much as it cost Rupert Murdoch 25 years ago - and will now seek planning permission to build a mix of homes, offices, shops and public open spaces.
The sale brings the curtain down on News International's involvement with the site, which was created in 1986 and was key to Murdoch's plan to break the power of the Fleet Street unions.
When Murdoch switched production of his newspapers to the site it sparked one of the longest and bitterest disputes in trade union history, running for more than a year from January 1986 to February 1987.
Printing at the site finally ended in April 2008, with the final print run comprising some 60,000 copies of The Sunday Times in the all but empty production area of the site.
In a memo to staff, Tom Mockridge, chief executive of News International, said: "Moving to Wapping was a pivotal moment in News International’s history as it led a pioneering development in newspaper production, and so today’s sale marks the end of an era for the company.
"Our move to Thomas More Square in 2010 has proven equally important; enabling NI to take the same industry-leading approach although this time with the digital revolution.
"The location of our newsrooms might change but News International’s position as a fixture on Britain’s media landscape will not. We are situated next to the Wapping site and look forward to the exciting redevelopment of the area by St George."Tweet
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