Hogan Lovells advises as News International offloads Wapping site

Hogan Lovells real estate partner Dion Panambalana has advised News International on the £150m sale of its iconic Wapping site.

Panambalana led senior associate Graham Cutts on the deal, which saw St George Central London purchase the site for residential development.

St George, part of the Berkeley Group, was represented by partner Tim Lake and consultant Kaz Stepien of West End property boutique Stepien Lake.

News International announced its intention to sell the site last year after a review of its property portfolio in the City.

Wapping Village has been empty for two years since the company’s stable of titles moved to the Thomas More Square base in East London. The old site contains around 1.2m sq ft of buildings associated with the old print works and a cleared car park.

Wapping was synonymous with development in newspaper production practices and the company said its sale was the “end of an era”.

News International, which publishes The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun, and used to publish the now defunct News of the World, transferred to the Wapping site in 1986. The move broke the dominance of the print unions and began the mass exodus from Fleet Street.

It then announced in 2004 that it was to move out of Wapping to spend £600m on sites to embrace the digital revolution.

In addition to the News International deal, Panambalana has wrapped up a deal advising the London Borough of Havering on a land swap with Morrisons.

The transaction will see the council develop a new public leisure scheme in Romford with an ice-rink, swimming pools and other facilities.

In exchange, Morrisons will build a 75,000 sq ft store and 65 homes on a site from the council. The land swap is subject to various conditions, which the Hogan Lovells team described as a “landmark deal”.

Panambalana said: “[This] should lead to the creation of first-class new leisure facilities in the town and a new Morrisons next to the hospital. We’re very pleased to act for the council and we look forward to continuing to advise them on the development as it progresses.”