Developer plans to restore the faded glory of a 'flawed icon'
The TimesDeirdre Hipwell, published 23 April 2012
Centre Point is set for a new lease of life if plans to convert the 34-storey building in Central London into flats are approved.
Almacantar, which bought Centre Point out of administration last year for £120 million, believes that it can restore the faded Sixties tower to its former glory by turning it into an exclusive residential scheme.
Today the developer will unveil designs for 82 flats in the tower and a comprehensive redevelopment of the ground floor area to create a “welcoming” open air piazza and courtyard as large as Covent Garden.
Kathrin Hersel, Almacantar’s development director, said: “Centre Point is a flawed icon, as it has been vacant for many years and even now it is not fully let. We wanted to find a solution that will preserve it for the long term and we saw a large opportunity to create a real gateway entrance to Oxford Street.”
Centre Point was designed, by Richard Seifert and built speculatively by the reclusive millionaire Harry Hyams. It stood vacant for nine years after its completion in 1966 and remains one of the most controversial buildings in London.
If Camden Council approves Almacantar’s plans, created by the architects Rick Mather and Conran & Partners, each floor will be split into a range of flats, with a double-level penthouse apartment at the top.
The tower’s Grade II-listed status means it is unlikely ever to be blocked by neighbouring developments, so even flats on lower levels will have enviable views. Almacantar hopes to submit a formal application this spring and could start on site as early as next spring. The final construction schedule will depend on how it can be phased during the Crossrail construction under way.