Alexandra Palace was built in 1873 as a northern companion to south London’s Crystal Palace. Originally intended as a showcase for contemporary culture. A concert hall, roller rink, ice rink, art galleries and television studios have all been part of its illustrious history and the park has been home to deer, an open air swimming pool, racecourse, Japanese village, boating lake and a golf course. Its international reputation and heritage significance was sealed in 1936 when it became the headquarters of the world’s first regular television broadcasting service.
Ownership changed hands several times until, in 1980, ownership and management was transferred to London Borough of Haringey. Following a 1980’s fire, plans to redevelop the Palace in partnership with the private sector were thwarted in 2007 by a Judicial Review that was triggered by a consortium of pressure groups, residents and passionate individuals concerned about the sensitive re-use of a beloved heritage asset and local amenity. At the same time, through the creativity and enterprise of committed staff, the Palace began to experience a renaissance as a live entertainment venue, hosting major concerts, as well as live sport and exhibitions.
Dan and Jim recommended a regeneration strategy anchored by live entertainment and serviced by a cluster of new hospitality, leisure and cultural facilities and then worked with the client to articulate delivery and funding strategies, a full business plan and an economic impact assessment. They also provided operational and commercial input to the strategic masterplan produced by Farrells, ensuring that the proposed solution is not just architecturally appropriate, but also operationally competent and financially viable.
“Ally Pally – the people’s palace” is an important and valued community asset attracting considerable interest. The public exhibition of the strategic masterplan in July 2012 attracted over 1600 responses with an overwhelmingly positive 87% supporting the plans.