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Centre Point

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Centre Point (sometimes rendered as Centrepoint) is a substantial concrete and glass office building in central London, occupying 101-103 New Oxford Street, WC 1, close to St Giles' Circus and almost directly above Tottenham Court Road tube station. It was designed by Richard Seifert[?] and was constructed from 1963 to 1966. It is 117 m (385 ft) high, has 35 floors and 27,180 m of floor space.

It has remained empty of tenants for much of its life. During the 1970s, the building was partly used to house a charitable homeless hostel, and the charity Centrepoint[?] took its name from the building. From July 1980 the building has been the headquarters of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry[?]).

It has been claimed that the building was kept empty by its owner, "property tycoon" Harry Hyams[?], as part of a complex financing deal regarding potential rents set against the increasing value of the site, Hyams had leased the site from the GLC at only 18,500 a year for 150 years.

A more intriguing speculation was that the government was paying Hyams "a heavy but secret subsidy to keep it empty" for its own purposes. Various conspiracy theories circulated about what those purposes might be. One common theme was that since the building was 100% air-conditioned (a rarity in London at that time), and sited over Tottenham Court Road tube station and its deep Tube lines, this would somehow make it useful to the government in the event of nuclear war. Most people regard this theory as far-fetched.

In 1995 the building was given grade II status, meaning it is of "special interest, warranting every effort to preserve". Noted architecture critic Nikolaus Pevsner[?] describes Centre Point as "coarse in the extreme".



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