News International rethinks Wapping redevelopment plans

After scrapping plans to sell News International’s Wapping site and uproot all staff to a new location, James Murdoch has now said that the publisher has had to delay the revelepment of Wapping.

Media Guaridan reports that Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, told staff that the planned redevelopment of Wapping site has been delayed because of the economic downturn.

The redevelopment of the east London site – home to The Sun, News of the World, The Times and Sunday Times – was announced in September when Murdoch confirmed he had had abandoned plans to sell Wapping and instead was planning a “campus for UK businesses” that would include shops.

The redevelopment was planned to be ready by 2012 and would see staff relocated for three years until it was finished. Murdoch said that although design plans were going ahead, the relocation of staff and start of the construction has been put back till the economy improves.

Murdoch’s memo to staff said: “For the News London project, we will continue designing the new building, decommissioning and removing the old presses and working to gain planning permission.

“We will however, delay the immediate decamp and the start of the construction programme planned for next summer, which would involve significant expenditure.

“With the low level of visibility we have of the medium term for the business, this is the right thing to do. We will advise you of the likely new timescales when visibility improves.”

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