Piazza and apartments to bring new life to brutalist Centrepoint in £350m makeover

 

A new public realm to rival Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden will be created in an overhaul of Centre Point tower in London by the developer Almacantar.

The 1960s-built tower was Almacantar’s first big deal a year ago when chief executive Mike Hussey bought the Grade-II listed building from administrators of a subsidiary of property group Targetfollow for £120 million.

Reviving the ageing landmark – labelled a "flawed icon" by Almacantar's development director, Kathrin Hersel – will cost some £350m. The accident blackspot at the base of the building, where pedestrians are forced into a busy bus lane, will be pedestrianised. A piazza will rejuvenate the drab area and attract a better mix of retailers and restaurants when completed in 2015.

The plans are being worked up by Gillespies, the landscape architect which redesigned Leicester Square. The piazza is expected to cost some £20m. Ms Hersel, who began consultations on the plans over the weekend, said: "This would be as big as Covent Garden or Trafalgar Square."

The new public area will be also be a stone's throw away from the West End's first theatre for 30 years. This is being built on the site of the former Astoria music venue, which has been demolished to make way for Crossrail.

Around 200,000 passengers a day are expected to pass through Tottenham Court Road station when the cross-London rail link is completed in 2017.

The 117m-high Centre Point tower itself is to be converted into 82 apartments. The building, faced in white Portland stone, was designed by Richard Seifert, the brutalist architect behind the NatWest tower, and completed in 1966.

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