White City, the West London ward behind the Westfield shopping centre, was once a glamorous international destination. Tara Loader Wilkinson learns more about the £8 billion makeover that is returning it to its glory days
An £8 billion makeover is returning West London’s White City to its glory days
hundred years ago, White City was the place to be. The UK hosted its first Olympic Games here in 1908 in a futuristic stadium. The buzz led to a series of mustsee exhibitions in sparkling white marble pavilions that gave the area its name. In the post-war era, White City fell into an industrial miasma until the 1960s, when it became the home of the BBC’S revolutionary TV studios.
The question mark-shaped BBC Television Centre was the largest in the world, rivalling Hollywood in its heyday. Known as “a factory for TV,” it produced a slew of hit shows such as Monty Python, Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, Blue Peter and Fawlty Towers.
In 2011, cost-cutting measures forced the BBC to put its iconic headquarters on the block. In many ways, it couldn’t have come at a better time. A joint venture between UK developer Stanhope and Japan’s Mitsui Fudosan snapped up the 5.6-hectare site for £200 million, with plans to transform it into luxury flats and offices while retaining many of the original features. “We are bringing to life these iconic and much-loved buildings to create a great place to live, work and visit,” says Peter Allen, a director at Stanhope.
The £1 billion revamp will transform the centre into 950 luxury apartments, 500,000 square feet of office space and a 47-room a new Soho House boutique hotel. Due for completion in 2018, prices of the flats start at