BBC Seals $311 Million Deal for Iconic Television Center

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Outgoing director-general Mark Thompson said contracts were exchanged as the First Night of the Proms concert aired Saturday.

LONDON -- The BBC has put up sold signs outside its landmark Television Center building to the west of the British capital after sealing a £200 million ($311 million) deal for the property.

The sell-off of the center, familiar to British audiences as being the studio from which BBC classic shows such as Blue Peter and Top Of The Pops were produced and broadcast, was sealed with property developer Stanhope PLC.

BBC director general Mark Thompson told a media briefing Monday that the deal was secured after the First Night of the Proms concert broadcast on Saturday evening.

The historic doughnut-shaped building, which dates back to 1960, was put up for sale last year as part of the BBC's latest cost-cutting drive and the pubcaster's ongoing re-jigg of its property portfolio.

Thompson said its sale "represents another milestone in the way the BBC is changing" from a number of broadcasting bases to key HQs in the capital and around the country, including the newly refurbished Broadcasting House in central London and BBC North in Salford.

BBC chief financial officer Zarin Patel earlier said the corporation's property footprint had been reduced by a third.

The broadcaster's short term spending on property has increased by £37 million ($57.6 million) to a total of £187 million ($291 million), in part due to the high cost of making its folio technologically ready for the digital age.

Patel described the broadcaster as being in a period of "investment" as far as digital technology spend was concerned.