Murdoch could reap £150m from Wapping sell-off

News International looks is set to make around £150m from the sale of its former offices and printworks at Wapping, east London, according to the FT.

News International ended 22 years of printing in Wapping in 2008 when it moved English production of its four national newspapers to new printworks in Broxbourne.

The last journalists moved out to new offices in neighbouring Thomas More Square this time last year.

NI had initially sought to sell Wapping in 2008 – but scrapped this plan following the financial crash. It had then talked about creating a new “campus” at the Wapping site.

According to the FT’s Matthew Engel, few journalists will mourn the passing of “fortress Wapping”.

He writes: “Wapping was always a ghastly place to work” – even well after the picket-lines and violent clashes of 1986 had subsided. “The place was surrounded by security then unknown outside military encampments…And though the buildings were modernised over the years, they never became more agreeable.”

Engels adds that some journalists also have grumbles about the new light and airy looking glass-fronted offices at Thomas More Square: “You need a pass even to go to the toilet. It’s just a call centre really”, one told him.

Here is the press release sent out by NI yesterday announcing the Wapping sale:

News International today announces it is putting its Wapping site up for sale. The decision to sell the 15-acre site follows a review of News International’s London property portfolio.

The majority of News International’s Wapping-based editorial and commercial staff have now relocated into Thomas More Square with the remainder to be relocated by the end of 2011. Thomas More Square provides the company with excellent facilities and flexibility. As a result, and in light of current market conditions, News International has decided not to proceed with re-modelling the Wapping site.

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