London's Television Centre to be pitched to Dubai property buyers

The building where classic television shows Top of The Pops, Dad’s Army, Blue Peter and Fawlty Towers were recorded is being converted into flats and marketed in Dubai next month.

BBC Television Centre at Wood Lane, White City, W12 7RJ – an address which still comes tripping off the tongue of millions of Brits growing up writing stamped addressed post cards to Record Breakers, Blue Peter competitions or pleading letters to Jim’ll Fix it – is to be exhibited at Cityscape Global.

The historic building, which was the headquarters of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) between 1960 and 2013 and appeared as the backdrop for many of the broadcaster’s most well known programmes, is currently being converted into 800 new homes as well as cafes and restaurants, an independent cinema, office space for up to 5,000 workers, and a private members’ club.

A first phase of 432 homes is due to be completed in 2018.

Property developer Stanhope bought the 14-acre site for £200 million in 2012 on a 999-year lease, after the BBC decided to save money (an estimated £33m a year) by selling off most of the site and moving many of its operations to Manchester.

Despite at the time promising a “full scale disposal” of TV Centre, in 2014 it emerged that the Beeb will still lease some of the studios in the newly renovated building once the work has been completed. This means that buyers will be able to live above active BBC studios and may even get to brush shoulders with TV stars coming to record new shows

Stanhope promises that the AHMM-designed building will include lots of other facilities including a gym, residents’ lounge with private screening room, private courtyard, gardens and a rooftop restaurant. And the building is located opposite Westfield London, Europe’s largest shopping mall.

Prices in the new development don’t come cheap. The ones being marketed in Dubai range from £700,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to £8m for a penthouse.

But the developer is hoping that a fall in the value of the pound following Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union earlier this year will encourage investors from the Middle East to buy.

Q&A with Stanhope’s sales and marketing director, Peter Allen.

How many properties had you sold to customers from the GCC before the Brexit vote?

There were seven sales at Television Centre from buyers in the GCC before the Brexit vote, which came via the London offices of our joint agents, Savills and Strutt & Parker. Five of these sales came from Dubai and one from both Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

How many have you sold to GCC buyers since the Brexit vote?

Since the Brexit vote, we’ve sold one unit to a buyer from Saudi Arabia.

How much cheaper are your properties in real terms for dollar buyers since the Brexit vote?

In real terms, our scheme is 10 per cent better value today than it was before the Brexit vote – so there is a clear opportunity for GCC investors to capitalise on this fact.

How much demand are you seeing from GCC buyers looking forward?

We’ve definitely seen a recent spike in enquiries from GCC buyers and have discussed the development at length with our local agent partner in Dubai, Elysian Global, which approached us via Strutt & Parker. This increased demand and the sales completed to date have given us the confidence that Television Centre resonates with buyers in the region. We’re really excited to introduce our product in person to the GCC market for the first time at Cityscape.

How much demand are you seeing from British buyers post Brexit?

We have been very encouraged. There was a period of uncertainty immediately after the Brexit vote but that is now passing we are returning to ‘business as usual’.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter