Farewell, Waterside!

Old Mar 19, 21, 4:21 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3,718
Farewell, Waterside!

It was announced by Sean Doyle to the employees the other day but now it's also on the Beeb: Waterside is being put on sale as BA firms up plans for "hybrid" work.

I have worked in WTS for most of my career in BA. For a while in Europe house, then Africa 1a with the FLY team, then over in Americas 2b, then finally in the "dungeons" of Asia. Like much of BA it was barebones, not exactly top-notch (my last desk had facilities stickers with the old Landor logo!) and there was a big divide between us lowly employees and the lofty heights of IAG's corporate office with its $12k coffee machine... but still. I've then worked in and around the Silicon Roundabout before ending up at the kitchen table where I'm typing this message but... Waterside remains my favourite.

I wonder what will replace it. I mean, it was bound to go at some point (third runway and all), but what could replace it? Right now I understand that the operational departments are decanting in TBC 9th floor but even there it's a tight squeeze, especially if/when the learning academy resumes work. TBA has a lot of empty space, but also a lot of asbestos; cleaning that up would probably cost as much as putting WTS 2.0 in geostationary orbit. Maybe the no man's land where a hangar used to be, the one between TBC and Vanguard House, could be used to build something small for co-working, meetings and the Global Ops team.

Also, I wonder who'll buy the building. I mean, who's going to see the Zoopla ad for a "1990s office building and parkland. Might need renovation. Slight rat infestation, angry Canada geese population throughout. Could end up flattened by Heathrow's bulldozers in the future" and click "Make offer"? Maybe HAL?

British Airways to continue work-from-home plan after Covid

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56451641
Cap'n Benj likes this.
13901 is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 4:43 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Programs: Mucci des Hommes Magiques et Magnifiques
Posts: 16,242
That’s a shame, I always enjoyed visiting Waterside, it felt right for a global premium company, how things have changed!
Can I help you is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 4:49 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Confirmed
Programs: Have
Posts: 989
Maybe a sale then lease back to release cash value? Like what HSBC did with 8 Canada Square in 2008.
SKRan is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 4:51 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: GLA
Programs: Mucci, BA Silver, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,012
This is such a shame. Back in a previous career, I worked for the facilities firm (FMS) who were dealing with the various moves from other BA offices into Waterside, and all the furniture moves and churn (from Dec 97-April 98) and was embedded on site in the building for that period (ostensibly as part of the BA Facilities team, even though i worked for an external company). I worked on converting all the Niels Torp drawings for the building and walked every inch of that place during my time there (including what was then Rod Ayling's impressive office) I am sure it has changed and aged over the years, but as a young 20-something living away from Glasgow for the first time, it was such an amazing and impressive building to me, and I loved my time there and have very fond memories of it. I know the world is changing, and the need for businesses to adapt to changing work patterns and staff expectations has been brought into more focus with the recent pandemic, but I will still look for it out the window when arriving or leaving from LHR and always associate it with BA.
efincomputer is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 4:53 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: JER
Programs: BA Gold/OWE, several MUCCI, and assorted Pensions!
Posts: 30,441
Interesting, and I suppose predictable for a number of reasons.

Now ... Google Earth shows Waterside clearly. Imagery date Apr 2020 indicated empty car parks!

But where are the TBA and TBC to which you refer? ISTR either BBB or CIHY mentioning them a long while back ... are they something in that complex at the very eastern end of the airport? I assume "TB" is Technical Building? What happens there? Just curious, for a general perspective.
T8191 is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 4:57 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Programs: Mucci des Hommes Magiques et Magnifiques
Posts: 16,242
TB stands for Technical Block (hangers) and as you correctly guessed they are in the complex at the eastern end of the airport.
T8191 likes this.
Can I help you is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 5:13 am
  #7  
Ambassador, British Airways; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Leeds, UK
Programs: BA GGL/CCR, GfL, HH Diamond
Posts: 32,031
Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
But where are the TBA and TBC to which you refer? ISTR either BBB or CIHY mentioning them a long while back ... are they something in that complex at the very eastern end of the airport? I assume "TB" is Technical Building? What happens there? Just curious, for a general perspective.
Here is a diagram courtesy of 13901 https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/33006120-post15.html
T8191 and BorisBrownBear like this.
KARFA is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 5:13 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Heathrow
Posts: 161
TBC is the big building you can see from T5, has workshops at ground level, cabin crew simulators etc on top of that, six or so levels of car park and then two floors of offices on the top.

TBA is a complex of four former BOAC hangars, three of which have been extended and two of which can house the A380. The simulator hall is also in the middle of it in what used to be an area for overhauling engines and landing gear in the BOAC days. It was formerly BAs HQ and has a great deal of abandoned office space. If you have stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn at Hatton Cross this is the building you look across at.
alextheengineer is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 5:16 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: GLA
Programs: Mucci, BA Silver, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,012
Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
Imagery date Apr 2020 indicated empty car parks!
In fairness, the majority of parking (from my 24 year memory) was underground in the basement of the building - the one that's showing on google maps is likley jut for visitors - but it's still a fair observation as the building was likely very quiet at that point anyway.
revorgap likes this.
efincomputer is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 5:27 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3,718
Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
Interesting, and I suppose predictable for a number of reasons.

Now ... Google Earth shows Waterside clearly. Imagery date Apr 2020 indicated empty car parks!

But where are the TBA and TBC to which you refer? ISTR either BBB or CIHY mentioning them a long while back ... are they something in that complex at the very eastern end of the airport? I assume "TB" is Technical Building? What happens there? Just curious, for a general perspective.
Hi T!
With regards to WTS, do bear in mind that the staff car parks are all underground, so underneath the building itself. The two car parks outside are for visitors only. Right now I believe that WTS is either empty or at best the Global Ops team up in Europe 3B (or A?) are in. That's the only 24/7 part of the building if I'm not mistaken.

Since I've got not much else to do here's a brief recap of BA's locations around the LHR Campus as I remember them.


brief explanation for the most obscure ones:
  1. SAA: South Ancillary something. it's by the remote stands opposite the "Dublin gate". There you can find an awful canteen, the offices of the team responsible for bussing passengers and crews and the Flight Management Unit (aka "Closeouts"). These used to be in T5.
  2. EAA: East Ancillary somethingelse. Next to the fuel farm. Here you can find the offices for Logistics and Movement, Engineering - Ramp maintenance and a couple Babcock workshops. Oh, and the vilest canteen ever. I've eaten in roadside cafes in Uzbekistan that had better food.
  3. The Cathedral: it's got a proper name, but I never really remembered it. It's where they do night maintenance for the A320s and where you put an aircraft when something goes 'bang' and you need space to repair it. It's also available to other carriers, if I remember well the Ethiopian 787 that caught fire was hosted there.
  4. TBE: old small hangar for teeny tiny planes. These days it's mostly used by Babcock as a workshop for the Ground Service Equipment (if memory serves me well).
  5. TBN: former BMI hangar. The lease should be up this year and as far as I remember it was a massive amount... BA tried to wriggle its way out of it but ultimately failed.
  6. TBJ/K: main hangars for base maintenance (not heavy maintenance, that's done in Cardiff/Manila). A few of the bays have been optimised for the 77W by enlarging them (so they have "bowindows" of sort). One bay is the site of the former paint bay and, as far as I can remember, it's still empty and unused.
  7. Vanguard House: pass issue, security post for accessing the Base area.
  8. TBC: ugliest building in West London if you ask me. It's basically one ground floor of engine workshops, then the new crew training area (quite nicer than the Cranebank cavern), then 7 floors of car park, then the Learning Academy (and business continuity locations for various business-critical areas), then Engineering and Learning Academy offices. next to it but almost hidden by my arrow is Boadicea House, or BoHo house for friends. If you remember the 2017 Bank Holiday outage... well this is where it happened. Kind of.
  9. TBA: 4 massive hangars, 2 of which A380-capable. Then the Sims hall. Then an awful lot of empty offices and corridors, enough to move the entire BA with space to spare, were it not for asbestos.
  10. Cranebank. I put it in italics because it ought to have been sold, but who the hell knows.
  11. BA Distribution Centre, or BADC for friends. Basically the place that handles most of BA's spares, or so I'm told.
Not in this picture is BACE, which is/was in Hayes and where BA does/did component overhaul. In fairness I don't know if it's been closed already or not.
13901 is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 5:58 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: UK
Programs: BA
Posts: 109
Waterside is essentially a collection of separate buildings joined down the middle by a street which is fully undercover, you can see it running down the middle on Google Earth. BA could effectively move in to half of the building and lease the rest to other companies, this may be cheaper than leaving completely and finding somewhere new. They would obviously have to share the car park, cafes and the street area with other people but then that's the case in the outside world anyway.
efincomputer likes this.
The Ginge is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 6:05 am
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3,718
Originally Posted by The Ginge View Post
Waterside is essentially a collection of separate buildings joined down the middle by a street which is fully undercover, you can see it running down the middle on Google Earth. BA could effectively move in to half of the building and lease the rest to other companies, this may be cheaper than leaving completely and finding somewhere new. They would obviously have to share the car park, cafes and the street area with other people but then that's the case in the outside world anyway.
It's already happening/happened. In the last few years, following a 30-40% reduction in workforce, BA's presence in WTS has shrunk massively so that other companies have entered the premises. These are:
  1. IAG (BA's parent company)
  2. Iberia
  3. American Airlines
  4. JAL
  5. Avios
  6. The company managing the pension scheme
  7. LEVEL and another IAG Cargo startup
13901 is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 6:58 am
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: London
Programs: BA, VS, HH, IHG, MB, MR
Posts: 26,183
Originally Posted by SKRan View Post
Maybe a sale then lease back to release cash value? Like what HSBC did with 8 Canada Square in 2008.
Even in the current frothy financial markets youd have to be a bit dim to fund a sale and leaseback of a building about to be knocked down.

If the compulsory purchase value is already agreed I imagine you could sell at a slight discount to that with upside if runway three never happens.
Raffles is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 7:15 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Confirmed
Programs: Have
Posts: 989
Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
Even in the current frothy financial markets youd have to be a bit dim to fund a sale and leaseback of a building about to be knocked down.

If the compulsory purchase value is already agreed I imagine you could sell at a slight discount to that with upside if runway three never happens.
Would Heathrow expansion still go ahead as planned?
SKRan is offline  
Old Mar 19, 21, 8:08 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 987
Originally Posted by 13901 View Post
and there was a big divide between us lowly employees and the lofty heights of IAG's corporate office with its $12k coffee machine...
That's a lot to pay for a cup of coffee
bafan likes this.
Agent69 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: