Written by rosalind renshaw

Knight Frank is to start marketing Battersea power station this week – the first time that the listed building has been on the open market in its history.

Offers of up to £500m are expected, and indeed needed to cover the debts of its last owners, but purchasers will be buying a poisoned chalice.

The site is currently owned by administrators Ernst & Young following the collapse of its would-be developers last November. The two previous owners who owned it since it was decommissioned in 1983 walked away from it.

Numerous plans to restore it, regenerate it, turn it into a nightclub, theme park, shopping centre and football stadium have so far resulted in acres of media headlines, but no action – mainly because no one can afford this bottomless money pit.

The 39-acre site, billed as the last big undeveloped building site in central London, currently has planning permission for a £5bn development of 3,400 homes, plus shops, offices and an entertainment complex, and a new Underground link.

The consent also requires full restoration of the derelict power station at an estimated £150m. The developers will also have to contribute £200m to the new Tube line.

Unsurprisingly, Knight Frank will be looking for rich buyers outside the UK, targeting the Far East, Middle East, India, Russia and the US.

Knight Frank is expecting the sale to go to final bids this autumn.

Stephan Miles-Brown, head of residential development at Knight Frank, said: “Battersea power station is a landmark recognised all over the world by hundreds of thousands of people, not least because of its appearance in the Beatles film Help! and the Pink Floyd Animals album cover.

“It is as iconic as the Chrysler Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower and indeed Big Ben and the London Eye, and known even to people who may have never been to London.

“The building gives the entire area a unique sense of place as well as putting it on the map. Its next owner will have to take a creative and long-term approach to its future.”


Is it just EAT, or does anyone else think the best thing to do with this monstrosity is to knock it down?

Or, if people really can’t bear the thought of losing London’s most famous eyesore, why not turn it back into a power station?


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    Ok, so its Bauhaus. That is a brilliant description.

    It is an amazing building, and if it were restored to some sort of clean power station, Stadium for Chelsea, or something even more unique and creative it will be a real estate development and refurbishment and restoration project like the world is rarely afforded an opportunity to enjoy.

    • 08 May 2012 23:21 PM
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    I can't even be bothered to have the conversation.

    There is nothing wrong with being middle class until one starts dibbling guff about the Architectural merits of a pile of bricks. Especially when Battersea is essentially more Bauhaus than Art Deco!

    • 28 February 2012 13:11 PM
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    I agree Richard, are you saying that an old power station and fine art deco architecture are mutually exclusive? Was it wrong therefore to restore Bankside power station and turn it into the world's most visited modern art museum? By the way, what's wrong with being middle class?

    • 27 February 2012 13:52 PM
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    Restore it with Coal fired generators, let us view this wonderful building once more through the haze of a traditional Pea Souper, yellow sulpherous Smog.

    Seriously Richard, talk about middle class Tosh. Even if this were a decent example of Art Deco anything, it isn't, it is an old power station, put it in perspective. You might have the luxury of viewing it first hand everyday but let them knock it down. You will know the sadness that us countryfolk who have to rely on photos, videos and simple memories endure every day not being able to wonder at this icon.

    • 27 February 2012 12:13 PM
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    Shame on you EAT! Compared to many European cities, London is sadly lacking in quality art deco buildings and this is one of its finest examples, especially being so close to the river. To call it a monstrosity is philistinism, to destroy it would be a level of iconoclasm far exceeding the demolition of Rachel Whiteread's 'House' in 1994 and Euston arch in 1961/2. Whilst we all curse, from to time to time, Britain's draconian planning and conservation laws, the result of their strict application is an overall national townscape of unusual quality and beauty. I'm sure, EAT, you were just being provocative for the mischief of it. Well you've succeeded in getting this ex-estate agent off his laurels!

    • 27 February 2012 09:27 AM