Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’s revamp of buildings opposite the Ritz hotel in London has been handed a boost by Westminster planners
The council officers recommended the practice’s scheme at 70-73 Piccadilly and 1-7 Berkeley Street for approval when the Planning (Major Applications) Sub-Committee meets next week.
AHMM was brought in by developer Crosstree Real Estate Partners last year to design the refurbishment and extension scheme after a consented scheme by Adjaye Associates for the same plot was put on ice.
The horseshoe-shaped site, arranged around Dover Yard, comprises a post-war office block fronting Piccadilly, the Holiday Inn on Berkeley Street, Squire & Partners-designed offices at 44-48 Dover Street and a single 1980s block at number 43.
AHMM’s plans include retaining and altering the main buildings on Piccadilly and Berkeley Street as well as redevelopment of the annexe building within Dover Yard. Along with a bigger hotel, and offices, the scheme will include shop units.
As with Adjaye’s scheme, the AHMM project involves opening up the under-used Dover Yard at the centre of the site, transforming it into a public thoroughfare between Berkeley Street and Dover Street.
Changes made to the scheme since it was submitted include raising the height of an extension on the corner of Dover Street and Piccadilly from two storeys to five.
Planning officers said in a report to councillors: ‘The existing buildings are of no great architectural merit. Permission was granted for their demolition and redevelopment in 2016.
‘The current scheme involves the retention of the buildings, removing an unattractive plant room on the Piccadilly frontage and replacing with a roof extension, which would be a more coherent addition which compliments the retained building. The Berkeley Street elevation will also be improved with replacement glazing and a painted façade.’
Adjaye Associates saw off a star-studded shortlist including Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry and Eric Parry to secure the Ritz-facing revamp in 2014.
Crosstree was set up in 2011 with about £500 million of backing from the Bertarelli family, the Swiss-Italian pharmaceutical dynasty.
After buying 1-3 Berkeley Street in December 2011, the developer later snapped up the neighbouring property at 48 Dover Street for £83.5 million from London Asset Management in June 2013.
The AJ understands the delivery of the AHMM scheme would not rule out a return to the more substantial Adjaye scheme in the future.
Dover Yard 03 GMJ