Formed of seven BBC sound studios, the Maida Vale property is where Bing Crosby made his last recordings, while other artists to have performed there include Sir Elton John, Radiohead and Coldplay.
The building was given a Grade II listing in 2020 which should mean that any redevelopment by its future owners will be behind the existing, white rendered Edwardian façade.
“The BBC has started marketing the Maida Vale Studios […] We’re keen to keep the site in productive (ideally creative) use that respects its heritage but mindful of the impact any new plans would have on local residents,” said City of Westminster Councillor for Maida Vale Geoff Barraclough in a tweet.
Agents Lambert Smith Hampton are advertising the studios as a “private and affordable residential, commercial and affordable workspace subject to the necessary planning consents.”
Originally a roller-skating palace, the building in Delaware Road was converted into BBC Studios in 1933 and became home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra a year later. The studios went on to be used to record music and drama sessions for BBC radio stations from 1946 to the present day.
Stephen Gilchrist, director of Brixton Hill Studios, told the Ham & High that the sale “makes me sick to the pit of my stomach” and suggested the building be kept as a national heritage.
He added: “I’ve known Maida Vale Studios all my working life. I’ve done several radio sessions there. It’s the kind of place that you can only get to work at throughpublic broadcasting.
“It’s an absolutely iconic studio and the fact it won’t be there anymore is revolting.”
A Historic England spokesperson said: “In May 2020 the BBC Maida Vale Studios site was listed at Grade II by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport, in line with our advice. The decision was then upheld following a review.
“The Maida Vale site has a history of conversion and reuse. Built in 1909-1910 as the Maida Vale American Skating Palace and converted by the BBC from 1934, the studios are some of the very earliest for radio broadcast to be established in Britain. It is an early and important BBC building, integral to its radio broadcasting since the 1930s, and has an important place in British musical history, having produced recordings of some of the world’s most celebrated performers.
“The listing will help inform the respectful management of change at this building of special architectural and historic interest. If substantial changes to the site are proposed in the future then Historic England would likely have a role in advising the local authority on any potential impact on heritage value and significance.”
In 2018 the BBC announced its intended relocation to purpose-built music recording and rehearsal studios at East Bank in Stratford from 2025.
The Maida Vale studios brochure stipulates a lease to the BBC be in place until December 2025 at £500,000 a year after an initial 12 months rent free.