MacCormac Jamieson & Prichard, Stanton Williams, Alsop & Störmer and Fletcher Priest Architects are understood to be the practices in the running to work on the Val Myers and Watson Hart masterpiece.
Submissions are due to be made by the quartet by the end of the month.
The project, which is part of the BBC’s reorganisation of its property portfolio, could lead to the corporation centralising its news operation at the redeveloped site.
The planned structure calls into question the role of Bush House on the Strand, central London, the historic home of the BBC World Service. However, a spokesperson confirmed that the lease on the property was extended this week. Although he declined to give details of the length of the new lease.
Portland Place currently houses BBC Radio One, Two, Three and Four.
Two buildings adjacent to Portland Place – Egton House and 16 Langham Street, are understood to be part of the redevelopment.
The BBC spokesperson confirmed that the corporation was in discussions with architects but declined to name names.
She said: “We are in a selection process for that site but at the moment it is far too early to say what would be going there. We are exploring how best to maximise the space.”
Sources also claim that the BBC is on the brink of reorganising its property department, with an announcement due to be made on 1 October.
We are in a selection process but it is far too early to say what would be going there
The Portland Place proposal is understood to be running in parallel with BBC plans to outsource its £500m London property portfolio in a private finance initiative-style deal, which is due to be decided early next year.
Value for money
The BBC wants to cut its property costs by one-third, freeing up £300m to modernise accommodation.
Five detailed bids were submitted to the BBC for the PFI deal earlier this month. The consortia are: 2020 Insight, including Trillium and Land Securities; Cornice Properties, which consists of Morgan Stanley Real Estates Funds; Foresite Consortium, comprising Amey and CIT Group; MBL Vision, with Mapeley and British Land; and Promedia, compromising Carillion, British Telecom and Marylebone Warwick Balfour.
One bidder said the corporation was still in two minds over whether to outsource the whole of its portfolio or to keep some of it in-house.
The source said: “Initially, the BBC is concentrating the corporate PFI deal on its White City project. There is nothing to stop its property department looking at other options for its London estate.”
Programme of development
The proposal is the third high-profile project planned by the BBC this year. Architect Allies & Morrison won the competition to design a £105m redevelopment at the White City site, west London, in June.
The corporation also announced a high profile competition for its a new Scottish headquarters in Pacific Quay, Glasgow, this week. Judges will include David Mackay, partner with Barcelona-based practice MBM Arquitectes, and Observer columnist Deyan Sudjic. Work is due to start on the project in Spring 2002 and to be completed in late 2004.