News International has announced it is to sell its Wapping headquarters.
The site, which has been occupied by the firm’s newspapers since an acrimonious move from Fleet Street 25 years ago, has become the focus of much media attention in past months, as the phone-hacking scandal reached its gripping apogee.
Yet the events of this year may have less to do with the decision than one might assume: in 2008, back when the ‘rogue reporter’ theory still carried water, the company said that it was considering a sale, only to decide against it and instead convert it into a “campus for UK businesses”, a plan that never materialised.
The great and good of E1W need not feel abandoned, though: many NI staff members have already moved to nearby Thomas More Square, with the remainder to follow by year’s end, and the company will run operations from there “for the foreseeable future”.
But what will become of ‘Fortress Wapping’? As a substantial piece of real estate in a desirable area, it’s likely to find another owner, although the complex itself might not be long for this world (particularly as another key piece of 1980s architecture, the buildings at no. 4 and 6 Broadgate, are already being demolished). Or perhaps it’s fated to join neighbouring Tobacco Dock as another discarded Eighties dream.
Photo of News International’s Wapping HQ by enemyradar