BT Tower makeover: MCR and Heatherwick Studio join forces for London landmark

MCR, the third-largest hotel owner-operator in the U.S., has successfully secured an agreement to acquire the BT Tower, one of London’s tallest and most iconic buildings, from BT Group.

This strategic move positions MCR as the owner of the 620-foot Tower and its accompanying podium, spanning a full city block in Fitzrovia, London.

BT Tower: one of London’s tallest buildings

The historic BT Tower, opened in 1965, holds Grade II importance as designated by England’s Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission.

MCR aims to breathe new life into this landmark by repurposing it into a hotel, allowing the public to experience its rich history and architectural significance.

To achieve this vision, MCR will collaborate with London-based Heatherwick Studio, known for their innovative and transformative designs.

Tyler Morse, CEO and owner of MCR, expressed pride in becoming the custodian of the BT Tower, emphasising the commitment to developing proposals that honour its legacy and make it accessible to everyone.

He said,

We see many parallels between the TWA Hotel and the BT Tower. Both are world-renowned, groundbreaking pieces of architecture.

It’s been a privilege to adapt the TWA Flight Center into new use for future generations, as it will be the BT Tower.”

However, the transition will be a gradual process, as BT Group will require several years to vacate the premises due to the intricate task of relocating technical equipment. This extended timeline provides ample room for design development and community engagement before unveiling the finalised proposals.

MCR’s notable portfolio includes owning and operating renowned hotels in New York, such as The High Line Hotel and the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport.

TWA Hotel: MCR’s portfolio includes the iconic hotel at JFK

The latter, a reimagining of Eero Saarinen’s 1962 landmark Flight Center, received a national Architecture Award from the American Institute of Architects. Morse draws parallels between the TWA Hotel and the BT Tower, both being globally acclaimed architectural masterpieces.

Thomas Heatherwick, Founder and Design Director of Heatherwick Studio, expressed excitement about partnering with MCR to reimagine the BT Tower.

Recognising the extraordinary opportunity to revive this important piece of the city’s living heritage, Heatherwick said,

My team and I are thrilled to partner with MCR to reimagine the BT Tower.

This is an extraordinary building and an amazing opportunity to bring it back to life.

We’re excited at the prospect of working with Fitzrovia’s residents and with many thousands of Londoners, to repurpose this important piece of the city’s living heritage.

The BT Tower, a Grade II listed communications tower, has been an integral part of London’s skyline since 1964, dominating the cityscape until 1980.

Besides serving as a communication hub, the tower was open to the public until 1971, featuring a revolving top-floor restaurant.

Since 1984, BT Group has operated the tower, hosting various corporate and charity events on its top floor, with its iconic “infoband” screen regularly displaying messages across London.

As MCR embarks on this transformative journey with Heatherwick Studio, the collaboration promises to rejuvenate the BT Tower, blending history with contemporary design.

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