Almacantar revives flat plans for Centre Point

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The Independent Online

The owner of London's infamous concrete tower, Centre Point, will relaunch £350m plans to transform the 1960s-built block into luxury flats within weeks.

Developer Almacantar and partner Frogmore want to revamp the area with a new piazza at Centre Point's base next to the junction of New Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road. This has been a well-known haunt of drug addicts, yet the developers' original plans were thrown out by Camden council last September.

The scheme is one of the highest-profile office-to-residential conversion projects in the country, likely to create more than 3,000 jobs during its construction – and involving the replacement of 9,000 window panes with double glazing

Almacantar says the building is too expensive to maintain as a commercial office. Converted into flats, the building will be far more lucrative.

Based on prices at the nearby Fitzroy Place scheme, industry sources estimate the apartments could fetch at least £1m each.

Almacantar is understood to be marketing the flats through property agent Savills.

Buying the tower was Almacantar's first big deal nearly two years ago when chief executive Mike Hussey purchased the Grade-II listed building from administrators of a subsidiary of property group Targetfollow for £120m.

The company wanted to tackle an accident blackspot by closing St Giles High Street under the bridge between the tower and Centre Point House, where pedestrians are forced into the bus lane by poorly designed paving. Camden – which was also concerned about the lack of affordable housing in the original proposal – wants further study into the impact of the road closure on local traffic.

The developer is also looking to assuage concerns over the lack of affordable housing through building flats on the site of the former Intrepid Fox rockers pub, bought by Almacantar last September.

A separate planning application for the piazza will be submitted later, although the developer is at present resisting pressure from the council to accommodate a viewing gallery in its plans.