Home Commercial Property News International sells Wapping site to St George for £150m

News International sells Wapping site to St George for £150m

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31st May 12 9:16 am

Property developer St George plans to turn News International’s site in Wapping into shops, homes, offices and open spaces after buying it for £150m, it has been announced.

News International chief executive Tom Mockridge said the sale marked the “end of an era for the company”. Its titles had previously been moved to its Thomas More Square base, also in east London.

Plans had originally been put in place to refurbish “Fortress Wapping” in September 2008 to make it ready for News International’s stable of businesses including MySpace, Fox, Dow Jones and Harper Collins.

But News International conducted a review of its London property portfolio and announced plans to sell it in September last year.

St George, which is part of the Berkeley Group, fought off “stiff competition” from other UK and overseas developers and investors to secure the site, according to property firm CBRE.

The site will now be developed into “high quality mixed use, residential led development, incorporating homes, offices, shops and public open spaces”.

Mockridge 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.”

Wapping Village, which has been vacant for two years, is filled with redundant buildings tied to the old print works and a cleared car park, CBRE said.

St George Plc managing director Ross Faragher said: “Working with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the local communities we plan to create an exciting and attractive place to live and work, a new quarter in Wapping that will revitalise this important area of London.”

News International moved to the Wapping site in 1986, a move which helped to transform the newspaper industry. It led to increased competition and the creation of new titles like the Independent, while the way newspapers were printed also changed, with fewer staff required to work more efficient machinery.

The publisher of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times announced it was moving its printing operations from Wapping in 2004. It invested more than £600m in new facilities in Enfield in north London, Knowsley, near Liverpool and Motherwell in Scotland.

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