BBC to spend £77m on Belfast headquarters upgrade: boss
The BBC has announced it will spend £77m on an upgrade to its Belfast headquarters rather than move to a new site.
The proposal for the work to Broadcasting House on Ormeau Avenue was approved yesterday by the BBC Board, with the announcement made to staff by director general Lord Tony Hall. The Belfast Telegraph had revealed in January that the broadcaster was having second thoughts about a move.
Money invested will go towards structural work on the 77-year-old building to ensure its long-term sustainability, addressing what the BBC says are "critical deficiencies".
It will also see the facilities at the site updated, giving it the "best infrastructure and technologies" to meet the needs of its audience across "numerous platforms and media".
Peter Johnston, director of BBC Northern Ireland, said: "Doing nothing was not an option. This is a big decision for the BBC and it's about much more than just bricks and mortar. This major investment is a commitment to licence fee payers in Northern Ireland and will help us to become a more efficient and flexible broadcaster, better equipped to meet the needs of our diverse audience for years to come."
Tony Hall said: "This is another sign of our commitment to Northern Ireland. We've already made the biggest single investment the BBC has made in Northern Ireland in 20 years which is going to transform our digital output.
"Now we're making sure we have a Broadcasting House fit for the digital age, giving audiences more access, ensuring we can give them the best possible programmes and making sure we operate as efficiently as possible."
Building work is forecast to run for around six years from 2018 to 2023.