BT is to sell the BT Tower in London, UK, and see it turned into a new hotel.

The telecoms firm this week announced it has agreed to the sale of the famous communications tower for £275 million ($346.8m) to MCR Hotels.

The BT Tower in London – BT Group

The hotel chain plans to turn the tower into an "iconic” hotel, though further details haven't yet been released.

Payment for the sale will be made over multiple years, as BT's equipment is progressively removed from the building, with final payment on completion of the purchase.

Located in the Fitzrovia area of central London, the Grade II listed tower was commissioned by the Post Office and opened for operations in 1965. It was built to host microwave antennae and replaced a shorter steel tower built on the roof of the neighboring Museum telephone exchange in the late 1940s to provide a television link between London and Birmingham.

Standing a total of 189 meters (620 ft) high, it overtook the Millbank Tower to become the tallest structure in London until 1980, when it was surpassed by the NatWest Tower. The tower was open to the public until 1971 and featured a revolving restaurant operated by Butlins. It revolved once every 23 minutes.

The restaurant was closed to the public after a bomb exploded in the roof of the men's toilets. The Angry Brigade, a far-left anarchist collective, claimed responsibility. Butlin’s lease to the property expired in 1980.

MCR said BT will take a “number of years” to fully vacate the premises due to the scale and complexity of the work to move technical equipment.

BT said a number of network operations that were traditionally provided from the BT Tower are now delivered via the group’s fixed and mobile networks. The tower’s microwave aerials were removed more than a decade ago.

Long an “important site” for the group’s broadcast business as a global interchange point for live television, BT is moving these services to a cloud-based platform.

Brent Mathews, property director, BT Group said: “The BT Tower sits at the heart of London and we’ve been immensely proud to be the owners of this important landmark since 1984. It’s played a vital role in carrying the nation’s calls, messages, and TV signals, but increasingly we’re delivering content and communication via other means. This deal with MCR will enable BT Tower to take on a new purpose, preserving this iconic building for decades to come.”

MCR Hotels owns around 150 hotels across the US. The company said it will partner with London-based Heatherwick Studio to “consider how best” to reimagine its use as a hotel, and acknowledged there will be “significant time” for design development and engagement with local communities before proposals are revealed.

Tyler Morse, CEO and owner of MCR Hotels, said: “We are proud to preserve this beloved building and will work to develop proposals to tell its story as an iconic hotel, opening its doors for generations to enjoy.”

BT has been selling off a number of properties in recent years, including its former headquarters in London, as part of a plan to “plans to simplify its operations and lower costs.”

Last year the company sold the former underground Kingsway Telephone Exchange, which is set to be turned into a new tourist attraction.