15-acre site, once home to the Sun, Sunday Times, NoW, and NI printing presses bought by Berkeley Group’s St George
News International has completed the sale of its Wapping site to the construction firm Berkeley Group for £150m.
The 15-acre site – once home to the Sun, Times, Sunday Times, News of the World and News International’s printing presses – has been bought by St George, part of the Berkeley Group. The £150m will be paid in instalments.
St George specialises in “high quality regeneration in London, combining new homes, apartments and penthouses with retail and leisure amenities for residents”, according to the Berkeley Group website.
Tom Mockridge, chief executive of News International, confirmed the sale of the site, dubbed “Fortress Wapping”, in an email to staff on Wednesday afternoon, after reports last week predicted the Berkeley Group deal.
“Moving to Wapping was a pivotal moment in NI’s history,” he said. “It transformed our titles and revolutionised the entire newspaper industry. It spearheaded expansion over the last 25 years, bringing new titles and sustaining new jobs.”
News International has owned the Wapping site for 25 years since Rupert Murdoch bought it for £300,000 an acre.
It subsequently became the scene of one of the most bitterly fought disputes in UK trade union history when Murdoch switched his newspapers and printing operation to Wapping in early 1986.
The site will now be developed into a mix of homes, offices, shops and public open spaces, according to Mockridge’s memo to News International staff.
Murdoch’s newspapers moved its titles to the nearby Thomas More Square building from 2010 as it prepared to sell the Wapping site.
News International began a shift away from its east London headquarters in 2005, when it announced that its printing would move to regional bases in Broxbourne, in Hertfordshire, Liverpool and Glasgow.
Mockridge said in the email: “Our move to Thomas More Square in 2010 has given us new, modern offices with better facilities. While the location of our newsrooms may have changed, our position as a fixture on Britain’s media landscape will not.
“We can now look forward to seeing St George’s exciting redevelopment of the area, which will bring many convenient amenities to colleagues based in Thomas More Square.”