TWA Hotel owner plans to turn London’s BT Tower into a hotel

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A hotel is coming to London’s famed BT Tower, but you’ll need to wait a few years to check in.

MCR, a U.S.-based hotel ownership group that owns the TWA Hotel at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), has a purchase agreement for the 620-foot BT Tower in London’s Fitzrovia neighborhood. BT Group, the building’s seller, announced the deal was worth 275 million British pounds (or about $348 million).

MCR plans to spend several years refurbishing the tower into a hotel and public space.

“We are proud to become owners and custodians of the iconic BT Tower,” MCR CEO Tyler Morse said in a statement. “We will take our time to carefully develop proposals that respect the London landmark’s rich history and open the building for everyone to enjoy.”

Details of how many rooms will be at the hotel, or if the tower’s now-closed rotating top-floor restaurant might revive amid the renovation, weren’t specified in the company announcement.

Telecommunications BT Group, the tower’s namesake, will take several years to vacate the building amid moving its technical equipment elsewhere. From there, MCR plans on a design development and community engagement process before getting underway with the hotel work.

The company is known for its painstaking process of refurbishing historic buildings and transforming them into modern, high-end hotels. The TWA Flight Center, the defunct airline’s architecturally acclaimed Eero Sarinen-designed terminal, transformed into the TWA Hotel under MCR’s purview. The company also owns the High Line Hotel in New York City and is currently underway with a redevelopment of the Gramercy Park Hotel.

“We see many parallels between the TWA Hotel and the BT Tower,” Morse said. “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.”

MCR also gets its fair share of traveler critique (this reporter included) for its nickel-and-diming of certain hotel amenities, like charging a fee to access the TWA Hotel’s rooftop pool. It is unclear if those pricing parallels will extend to whatever becomes of the BT Tower.

Unlike the TWA Hotel, the BT Tower hasn’t always been a hit with architecture buffs: The New York Times labeled it as one of “the World’s Most Hated Buildings” in a 2015 article.

That just means there’s all the more reason for MCR to glam it up in the hotel renovation.

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