The university is to lease the iconic 1920s broadcasting centre and three other recently refurbished buildings, now known as the Aldwych Quarter, located next to its historic Strand campus, it announced on 10 March.
It will occupy Bush House and Strand House on a phased basis from September 2016 and the adjacent King House and Melbourne House from 2025, it said.
It will provide an additional 300,000 square metres of space for student study and social space, new teaching facilities and academic accommodation and will be linked to form a unified campus with the Strand buildings.
Edward Byrne, King’s president and principal, said the acquisition represents “a defining moment in the history of King’s, securing the university’s standing for the next 50 years and beyond”.
“Acquiring the Aldwych Quarter will create a wonderful and dynamic campus in the heart of London by uniting two prime central London locations, the Aldwych and our historic Strand campus, to create state of the art education and learning facilities for our students,” added Professor Byrne, who took charge of King’s last summer.
The move would help to consolidate King’s position as a top 20 global university by providing world-class education and research facilities, he said.
Byrne told Times Higher Education that the move would allow King’s to expand its student numbers from 27,000 to 30,000 and relieve pressure on the “tightly populated” Strand campus.
It is not known how much the move will cost, but the Aldwych Quarter has undergone a £61 million refurbishment since the BBC vacated Bush House in late 2012 after 70 years’ broadcasting there.
The Duke of Wellington, chairman of King’s College London, said the chance to acquire the buildings was a “once in a generation opportunity”.
“It is particularly appropriate that the former headquarters of the BBC World Service should now be occupied by one of the country’s leading universities,” he said.
“Our campus on the Strand has for too long had inadequate and cramped teaching space,” he added.
An email sent to staff said the university had signed a lease for 50 years, but “intends to occupy the site for a much longer period than that”.
“These prestigious buildings will provide much needed additional space for new teaching facilities and student study, as well as academic and social space,” it read.
The announcement comes two months after the university ditched plans to rebrand itself as “King’s London”.
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