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BT Tower’s new American owner gushes Grade II-listed London landmark he bought for £275million will become ‘an iconic hotel’ – even though he doesn’t have planning permission for it


BT Tower’s new American owner says the London landmark he bought for £275million will become ‘an iconic hotel’ – despite not having planning permission for it. 

MCR Hotels chief executive Tyler Morse this morning laid out his grandiose vision for the communications tower in London’s Fitzrovia.

He enthusiastically gushed it would be a ‘special product you can take your sweetie to’, yet couldn’t confirm how many rooms the 581ft tall building would have which has been closed to the public for more than five decades. 

Mr Morse vowed ‘it would be accessible to the world’ as he poured scorn over claims it would be a luxury hotel for the elite. 

Yet Londoners and Britons will have to wait years before seeing the American’s dreams become reality with blueprints for the project not even being drawn up yet. 

BT Tower's new American owner says the London landmark he bought for £275million will become 'an iconic hotel' - despite not having planning permission for it

BT Tower’s new American owner says the London landmark he bought for £275million will become ‘an iconic hotel’ – despite not having planning permission for it

MCR Hotels chief executive Tyler Morse this morning laid out his grandiose vision for the communications tower in London's Fitzrovia and vowed it would be 'accessible' for everyone

MCR Hotels chief executive Tyler Morse this morning laid out his grandiose vision for the communications tower in London’s Fitzrovia and vowed it would be ‘accessible’ for everyone

A so-called listening tour will take place for up to the next two years to rake in views from members of the public.

How many rooms the hotel will have is ‘still up in the air’ Mr Morse told BBC Radio 4 this morning, but he says they won’t cost the ‘price to the moon’.

‘We want this building to be accessible to everybody to everyone in the United Kingdom to everyone in the world and it’s going to be a reasonable price point,’ he said. 

‘Luxury hotels don’t necessarily need to be the thing.’ 

The lauded architect behind London’s 2012 Olympic cauldron and sculpture B of the Bang in Manchester, Thomas Heatherwick CBE, has been drafted in to work on the design and to help drive down costs.

‘It’s going to be an iconic hotel with spectacular views, but we don’t have planning permission yet to make it a hotel,’ Mr Morse said.

‘It’s going to be a special special product that you’re going to take your sweetie to the BT tower and have cocktails, to have drinks, to have an amazing stay… it’s going to be a lot of fun.’ 

Mr Morse wouldn’t reveal costs behind revamping the tower into a hotel although they won’t be ‘insignificant’, he said.

A so-called listening tour for up to the next two years will rake in views from members of the public

A so-called listening tour for up to the next two years will rake in views from members of the public

Philip Gorgio was the supervisor of the Tower's revolving restaurant in 1980, which later closed due to security fears

Philip Gorgio was the supervisor of the Tower’s revolving restaurant in 1980, which later closed due to security fears

The structure is still fondly remembered for its revolving restaurant that attracted the biggest stars of its day, including The Beatles , Muhammad Ali , Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones

The structure is still fondly remembered for its revolving restaurant that attracted the biggest stars of its day, including The Beatles , Muhammad Ali , Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones 

Tragically, the revolving  restaurant was closed amid security fears after a bomb exploded in the men's toilet on the 31st floor

Tragically, the revolving  restaurant was closed amid security fears after a bomb exploded in the men’s toilet on the 31st floor

Construction of the tower began in June 1961 and was officially opened in 1965 by Labour prime minister Harold Wilson

Construction of the tower began in June 1961 and was officially opened in 1965 by Labour prime minister Harold Wilson

Saying he wants the hotel to create memories rather than ‘stuff’, he added: ‘Experiences are now in, stuff is out. People don’t need any more tennis rackets or canoes. 

‘They just want to have memories with their families and their loved ones and something that has been part of their life forever to be brought back to life. It’s going to take some time.’ 

The US hotel chain, which is the third largest hotel-owner-operator in the US, has a $5 billion portfolio – the equivalent of approximately £3.9 billion – of around 150 hotels, including the TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Payment for the sale will be made over multiple years, with final payment being made on completion of the purchase.

The sale comes after BT Group sold its former headquarters in St Paul’s for £210 million in 2019, moving to a new office in Aldgate.

The building in St Paul’s will eventually be occupied by HSBC following their departure from 8 Canada Square in Canary Wharf. 

The tower was originally commissioned by the General Post Office (GPO) – the historic state telecommunication service which was eventually disbanded in 1969 – and was formerly known as the Post Office Tower or GPO Tower.

The tower's most famous appearance was in 1971 when the it is toppled by a giant kitten in an episode of The Goodies titled 'Kitten Kong', a parody of King Kong

The tower’s most famous appearance was in 1971 when the it is toppled by a giant kitten in an episode of The Goodies titled ‘Kitten Kong’, a parody of King Kong

The tower was originally commissioned by the General Post Office (GPO) - the historic state telecommunication service which was eventually disbanded in 1969

The tower was originally commissioned by the General Post Office (GPO) – the historic state telecommunication service which was eventually disbanded in 1969

The devastating blast in 1971, caused by a bomb in the men's toilets, damaged buildings and cars up to 400 yards away

The devastating blast in 1971, caused by a bomb in the men’s toilets, damaged buildings and cars up to 400 yards away

Workers and officials inspected the damage caused to the Post Office Tower (now known as the BT Tower) following the bomb explosion on 31st October 1971

Workers and officials inspected the damage caused to the Post Office Tower (now known as the BT Tower) following the bomb explosion on 31st October 1971

The communications tower has been noted for its unique cylindrical shape, which later featured a 360 degree coloured LED screen near the top of the tower

Famously, the tower has made several notable appearance in film and television, including The Bourne Ultimatum, Doctor Who, V for Vendetta, and Danger Mouse.

But its most famous appearance was in 1971 when it was toppled by a giant kitten in an episode of The Goodies titled ‘Kitten Kong’, a parody of King Kong.

The building was last accessible to the public in 1971 had a restaurant on the revolving top floor. 

But it was closed off that year when a suspected IRA bomb exploded on the 31st floor. Although no one was injured it took two years to be repaired. 



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