27 July 2015 – Evening Standard
Developers have unveiled ambitious plans to build three storeys of luxury flats and a “sky bar” on top of London’s iconic Millbank Tower.
The proposals, which were revealed today and have yet to be submitted to Westminster City Council, would see the Grade II-listed, 32-floor skyscraper extended and converted primarily into 200 flats. A 200-room hotel and a three-storey “arts and cultural centre” would also be built next door, with a spa, swimming pool and fitness centre to be added at ground level.
The tower, owned since 2002 by David and Simon Reuben – ranked at number 80 on Forbes’s billionaires list – would be topped off with three levels of luxury penthouses. A restaurant and sky bar offering panoramic views across the city complete the proposals, while Millbank Tower’s uppermost industrial layer would also be partially converted into flats.
In a statement on the Millbank Tower Proposals website, the developer said: “Millbank Tower and complex are Grade II listed buildings sitting in an area rich with history and heritage, adjacent to several conservation areas and a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Parliament Square. “We neighbour the renowned Tate Britain art gallery and nearby Chelsea School of Art so we believe our proposed addition of a culture centre, as a key part of our proposals, can confirm the north bank of the Thames as an enriched arts and culture destination.”
If given the go-ahead, the luxury hotel would fill the adjacent “Y” building, which – like the tower – would be extended by three storeys. Architects John McAslan and Partners have been appointed by developers Motcomb Estates to lead the redevelopment. The tower, sandwiched between conservation areas on the north bank of the Thames. is currently filled with offices. Its tenants include the Environment Agency and Audit Commission, while the Conservative Party’s campaign HQ is housed at 30 Millbank in the same complex.
The Millbank Tower was London’s highest structure following its construction in 1963. It was overtaken by the Post Office tower in 1965. The additional storeys would extend the 119m block to roughly 130m – meaning it would leapfrog buildings such as the Barbican’s Shakespeare Tower to become the capital’s 26th highest, behind Wembley Stadium. It currently ranks 34th, just ahead of St Helen’s and Centre Point. Today’s plans will be used as part of a consultation process prior to their submission to the local authority for planning permission.