White City Rising: Part 2
The White City regeneration scheme is one of the most ambitious in London, and one of the most likely to have sustainable success, thanks in part to the heritage of the BBC. Stanhope owns the Beeb’s buildings now, and is using the area’s history as a media district as a base to create very modern "networks of creative thought." We talked with Stanhope head of office leasing Kevin Darvishi about this portion of the £8B experiment to create a west side creative hub.
Back in 2015, under pressure to reduce costs, the BBC sold its Media Village in West London. Stanhope spent £87M to snap up the four acres of freehold land and leases on six buildings (three of which would be leased back to the BBC). The company then set about creating White City. If there is a driving idea behind the behemoth project, it is “networked for creative thought,” a phrase one sees prominently displayed throughout the development.
What does that look like? The transportation links are a network to the wider city. The Platinum-certified (by WiredScore) infrastructure is networked to bring super-fast connectivity to tenants. Imperial College, just across the street, will be part of the "community network"—a talent resource to incubate and collaborate with.
Most of all, the mix of people create a network of talents, strengths and opportunities that, when unlocked, can do amazing things.
Kevin tells us the company focused on getting high-quality creative and tech companies for tenants more than, say, bankers or accountants.
Stanhope is refurbishing three buildings on campus: MediaWorks, WestWorks (above) and Garden House. When Bisnow met in the MediaWorks presentation room, one could hear workers above us finishing construction for the opening in autumn 2016. When complete, White City Place will include 700k SF of new office space.
The courtyard in front of MediaWorks is grey, blocky, all cement. Kevin tells us it will be transformed into a greenspace where people actually want to be. WestWorks will also have a new (and amazing) courtyard (below).
Kevin plans to improve the retail offered on the ground floor, with the focus on attracting a wide range of emerging food and beverage operators. A spinning studio is also a possibility, Kevin says.
The amenities on campus are so dreamy that both Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney looked into leasing the 40k SF Garden House.
In the “Question Mark” buildings at Television Centre, Stanhope is developing 400k SF of new offices, alongside 432 new homes, a number of fantastic independent restaurants, Soho House with a rooftop swimming pool and wraparound terrace, three BBC studios and the BBC Worldwide HQ.
The new homes are being created within the doughnut-shaped block with its iconic statue of Helios, the Greek sun god. A new outer ring of homes will mirror the inner ring, separated by gardens. The original “stage door” entrance will be a 24-hour concierge lobby.
The buyers so far are locals, Kevin tells us. The homes are not just being acquired as a repository for capital by foreign investors. People love them, he says. They’re part of history.
Television Centre's offices will be designed with modern occupiers in mind, with large bike stores, and changing and concierge facilities for employees, visitors and deliveries. The BBC’s offices at 1 Television Centre already accommodate over 1,200 people.
2 Television Centre will provide 280k SF of premium office accommodation. A full-height atrium will fill the space with natural daylight, crisscrossed by diagonal walkways that connect each office floor, while at street level, cafés and restaurants will spill out onto the landscaped forecourt (shown).