NEW YORK, NY / FEBRUARY 21, 2024  MCR, the third-largest hotel owner-operator in the U.S., has agreed to purchase the BT Tower — one of London’s tallest buildings — from BT Group. MCR will own the 620-foot Tower and podium, encompassing a full London city block, freehold.

MCR intends to secure the future of the iconic Tower — which was opened in 1965 in Fitzrovia, London, and is listed Grade II importance by England’s Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission — by repurposing it as a hotel and opening it up to the public.

MCR will partner with London-based Heatherwick Studio to consider how best to reimagine its use as a hotel.

“We are proud to become owners and custodians of the iconic BT Tower,” says Tyler Morse, CEO and owner of MCR. “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.”

BT Group will take a number of years to vacate the premises, due to the scale and complexity of the work to move technical equipment, and there will be significant time for design development and engagement with local communities before proposals are revealed.

MCR owns and operates many of New York’s best-known hotels, including The High Line Hotel, a former seminary, and the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, a reimagining of Eero Saarinen’s 1962 landmark Flight Center, which received a national Architecture Award from the American Institute of Architects. The company also owns and is currently redeveloping the famed Gramercy Park Hotel.

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

Thomas Heatherwick, Founder and Design Director, Heatherwick Studio, said: “My team and I are thrilled to partner with MCR to reimagine the BT Tower. This is an extraordinary building and an amazing opportunity to bring it back to life. We’re excited at the prospect of working with Fitzrovia’s residents and with many thousands of Londoners, to repurpose this important piece of the city’s living heritage.”

About the BT Tower

The BT Tower is a Grade II listed communications tower sitting above a podium, located between Cleveland Street, Maple Street, Cleveland Mews and Howland Street in Fitzrovia, London. The main structure is 581 feet high, with a further section of aerial rigging bringing the total height to 620 feet. Upon completion in 1964, it overtook the Millbank Tower to become the tallest structure in London until 1980, when it was overtaken by the NatWest Tower. As well as acting as a hub for the UK’s communication networks, BT Tower was open to the public until 1971, with a restaurant making use of the revolving top floor. Since 1984, BT Tower has been operated by BT Group, with its top floor regularly hosting corporate and charity events, and its iconic “infoband” screen regularly displaying messages across London.

About MCR

MCR is the 3rd-largest hotel owner-operator in the United States with a $5.0 billion portfolio of 150 premium-branded hotels containing more than 25,000 guestrooms. Founded in 2006 by Tyler Morse, MCR has 7,000 team members across the country and operates independent hotels as well as 9 Marriott and 8 Hilton hotel brands. MCR has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Travel Companies. For the TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Airport, MCR won the Development of the Year (Full Service) Award at The Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), the Urban Land Institute New York Excellence in Hotel Development Award and the American Institute of Architects national Architecture Award, the highest honor given by the AIA.  For more information, please visit mcrhotels.com.

About Heatherwick Studio

Heatherwick Studio is a design team of over 250 problem solvers dedicated to making the physical world around us better for everyone. Their recent work includes two new campuses for Google in California in collaboration with BIG, Little Island in New York, Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross London, as well as recently opened Azabudai Hills, the studio’s first district in the heart of Tokyo. The studio is currently working on 30 live projects in ten countries. These include Hainan Performance Art Centre, a major cultural institution in China, mixed-use projects in Shanghai and Miami, as well a reimagination of London Olympia – a heritage exhibition and events destination. http://www.heatherwick.com/

Featured Articles