Plans to replace the King Alfred in Hove with a Frank Gehry design have run out of time

First published in News by

The £290 million King Alfred development is dead.

The Frank Gehry designed scheme planned for the Hove seafront was declared “finished” tonight by the man behind the project.

It comes after years of argument over whether the bold towers would either revitalise the city or become a blot on the landscape.

Yet in a letter to senior council officials seen by The Argus, Josh Arghiros, the director of developer Karis, revealed that after six years - and £13 million in costs - he remains hopeful a project could go ahead once the economy recovers in two or three years.

News of the scheme’s demise comes just hours before the contract between Karis and Brighton and Hove City Council ends.

Without a financial backer, the development agreement signed in November 2004 is expected to expire at midnight on Sunday, leaving Frank Gehry’s first project in England dead in the water.

The scheme, which included the construction of 751 homes in 11 buildings of up to 98 metres high, was thrown into doubt in July when Dutch bank ING withdrew its financial support because falling house prices no longer made it financially viable.

Comments (31)

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7:20pm Fri 7 Nov 08

harwood says...

I think it's a real shame, but hardly suprising in the current climate. Regardless of what you think about the merits of the plan, I think this would have been great for the economy of Brighton and provide a much needed sports centre, which lets face it, without lottery money or the council taxpayer paying MILLIONS to build it, will not happen.

The people who believe their pie in the sky assertions that the tax payer should pay for a facility which will only be ever be used by a regular minority, are very misguided.

A real shame, even if the development wasn't the prettiest around! Oh well!

Saw a tv article just now, and it seems it's always the middle class old Nimby's that are against change in Brighton, for god's sake it's a party town and has welcomed change since the early 1800's, you people shouldn't try and stop it, it's not some sort of musuem you know.
I think it's a real shame, but hardly suprising in the current climate. Regardless of what you think about the merits of the plan, I think this would have been great for the economy of Brighton and provide a much needed sports centre, which lets face it, without lottery money or the council taxpayer paying MILLIONS to build it, will not happen. The people who believe their pie in the sky assertions that the tax payer should pay for a facility which will only be ever be used by a regular minority, are very misguided. A real shame, even if the development wasn't the prettiest around! Oh well! Saw a tv article just now, and it seems it's always the middle class old Nimby's that are against change in Brighton, for god's sake it's a party town and has welcomed change since the early 1800's, you people shouldn't try and stop it, it's not some sort of musuem you know. harwood
  • Score: 0

7:37pm Fri 7 Nov 08

Cgull says...

So what are we going to do with the pool? Why not sell a bit of land above the by-pass and use that to have the supa dupa pool? And for those people who say we can't build north of the by-pass, would you rather the ugly twin towers instead?
So what are we going to do with the pool? Why not sell a bit of land above the by-pass and use that to have the supa dupa pool? And for those people who say we can't build north of the by-pass, would you rather the ugly twin towers instead? Cgull
  • Score: 0

7:53pm Fri 7 Nov 08

bug eye says...

it is a shame they were so greedy wanting so many flats and overdeveloping, the leisure centre and tower blocks could have been a landmark for hove but the surrounding 11 storey flats were bland and crowded. we will now no doubt have a decrepid blot here years to come and this council and the planning work so slowly, the main reason this project and many others are dead. worthing and eastbourne will be more attractive and have more leisure facilities than brighton and hove at this rate.
it is a shame they were so greedy wanting so many flats and overdeveloping, the leisure centre and tower blocks could have been a landmark for hove but the surrounding 11 storey flats were bland and crowded. we will now no doubt have a decrepid blot here years to come and this council and the planning work so slowly, the main reason this project and many others are dead. worthing and eastbourne will be more attractive and have more leisure facilities than brighton and hove at this rate. bug eye
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Fri 7 Nov 08

S.T. Rewth says...

Best news this year.
Go away Karis and never come back.
BHCC sort this mess out.
Best news this year. Go away Karis and never come back. BHCC sort this mess out. S.T. Rewth
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Fri 7 Nov 08

Glenda says...

£13 million. Is that how much it took to 'persuade' Brighton Council and do the ground work? This is not a cynical comment. This £13 million includes costs on getting the overdevelopment through planning.
If only Dosh had put this money into providing a swimming pool for Hove. I
£13 million. Is that how much it took to 'persuade' Brighton Council and do the ground work? This is not a cynical comment. This £13 million includes costs on getting the overdevelopment through planning. If only Dosh had put this money into providing a swimming pool for Hove. I Glenda
  • Score: 0

8:40pm Fri 7 Nov 08

NoWayIsBack says...

yaaaaaaaay :D

84% of people didn't want that eyesore on our seafront anyway!
yaaaaaaaay :D 84% of people didn't want that eyesore on our seafront anyway! NoWayIsBack
  • Score: 0

10:47pm Fri 7 Nov 08

quedula says...

Sell the land to the east of the KA for a low-rise development and use the mpney to renovate the existing building - simple!
Sell the land to the east of the KA for a low-rise development and use the mpney to renovate the existing building - simple! quedula
  • Score: 0

11:31pm Fri 7 Nov 08

Gentleman Jim says...

Obviously we need a replacement Indoor Sports Centre but not the Micky Mouse proposed development, if it had gone ahead we would have been the laughing stock of the whole country,even Disney would have turned their back on the weird building
Obviously we need a replacement Indoor Sports Centre but not the Micky Mouse proposed development, if it had gone ahead we would have been the laughing stock of the whole country,even Disney would have turned their back on the weird building Gentleman Jim
  • Score: 0

12:24am Sat 8 Nov 08

Dave At Home says...

I'm not sorry to see it go, greed took over a very good idea, silliness took over a wonderful complex and money became the issue.

It was all about greed in the end and the locals would of suffered, Hove needs a proper swimming pool, which this complex started out as to win support and slowly it became a paddling pool for more flats, more floors were added to put in even more flats, parking spaces were cut back for more flats... now that the housing market has gone, so has the dream of a descent leisure center, which would have brought in some good money.

Well good riddance to Karis and their greedy partners, hope some of the councillors will stand down now as I am sure they have done alright out of the job so far...
I'm not sorry to see it go, greed took over a very good idea, silliness took over a wonderful complex and money became the issue. It was all about greed in the end and the locals would of suffered, Hove needs a proper swimming pool, which this complex started out as to win support and slowly it became a paddling pool for more flats, more floors were added to put in even more flats, parking spaces were cut back for more flats... now that the housing market has gone, so has the dream of a descent leisure center, which would have brought in some good money. Well good riddance to Karis and their greedy partners, hope some of the councillors will stand down now as I am sure they have done alright out of the job so far... Dave At Home
  • Score: 0

9:15am Sat 8 Nov 08

davyboy says...

although i now live elsewhere, we lived in medina terrace when this idea was brought up. we didn't want it then, so i am glad the the residents do not have to put up with this eyesore. however, a new leisure pool is required. when we come to brighton, we tend to go to the triangle at burgess hill, because it has a proper LEISURE pool, with flumes etc, which is what people want nowadays. also, there is adequate parking, and other facilities on site.
although i now live elsewhere, we lived in medina terrace when this idea was brought up. we didn't want it then, so i am glad the the residents do not have to put up with this eyesore. however, a new leisure pool is required. when we come to brighton, we tend to go to the triangle at burgess hill, because it has a proper LEISURE pool, with flumes etc, which is what people want nowadays. also, there is adequate parking, and other facilities on site. davyboy
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Sat 8 Nov 08

Camel54 says...

We pay council tax to pay for council services. These services include leisure facilities. The time and money wasted on the ludicrous redevelopment proposals for the KA are an absolute scandal and if the council feels tempted at all to extend any agreement with Karis for a future possible "development" instead of finding a way to provide Hove with the facilities to which it is entitled, whether that is by renovation and extension of the existing building or by rebuilding, I think we would, as taxpayers, be quite entitled to stop paying for what we are not getting.
The cosy relationship between local government and property developers has provided precisely nothing as yet to benefit the inhabitants of this city. We are left with the bills and the dereliction. Let us stop it now.
We pay council tax to pay for council services. These services include leisure facilities. The time and money wasted on the ludicrous redevelopment proposals for the KA are an absolute scandal and if the council feels tempted at all to extend any agreement with Karis for a future possible "development" instead of finding a way to provide Hove with the facilities to which it is entitled, whether that is by renovation and extension of the existing building or by rebuilding, I think we would, as taxpayers, be quite entitled to stop paying for what we are not getting. The cosy relationship between local government and property developers has provided precisely nothing as yet to benefit the inhabitants of this city. We are left with the bills and the dereliction. Let us stop it now. Camel54
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Sat 8 Nov 08

fubsy says...

Any so called leisure developement at the King Alfred site will merely be a thinly veiled excuse to build more flats.
When will this coucil stop cramming people into every bit of land that becomes available?
As an aside can any tell me the last time brighton council considered turning derelict land into a park?
Any so called leisure developement at the King Alfred site will merely be a thinly veiled excuse to build more flats. When will this coucil stop cramming people into every bit of land that becomes available? As an aside can any tell me the last time brighton council [or any council] considered turning derelict land into a park? fubsy
  • Score: 0

5:50pm Sat 8 Nov 08

mogfish says...

Has anyone seen the front page of today's Argus?

"King Alfred Collapses" is the single headline on the page which is entirely devoted to badly mocked up image of the proposed King Alfred buildings (two towers) falling down. The image is immediately recognisable as that of the picturestaken of the World Trade Centre after it was attacked.

Using the horror of 9/11 to illustrate the end of funding for the King Alfred scheme beggars belief. And to top it all - there's a poppy in the right hand corner of the page.

What were the Argus thinking?

Has anyone seen the front page of today's Argus? "King Alfred Collapses" is the single headline on the page which is entirely devoted to badly mocked up image of the proposed King Alfred buildings (two towers) falling down. The image is immediately recognisable as that of the picturestaken of the World Trade Centre after it was attacked. Using the horror of 9/11 to illustrate the end of funding for the King Alfred scheme beggars belief. And to top it all - there's a poppy in the right hand corner of the page. What were the Argus thinking? mogfish
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Sat 8 Nov 08

glooper says...

Don't know which 84% it was that didn't want the redevelopment. I was all for it and no-one ever asked me. Of course I'm only a keen local swimmer. Still, at least wealthy conservative seafront hovites can breathe easy in their big semis now.
Don't know which 84% it was that didn't want the redevelopment. I was all for it and no-one ever asked me. Of course I'm only a keen local swimmer. Still, at least wealthy conservative seafront hovites can breathe easy in their big semis now. glooper
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Sat 8 Nov 08

NoWayIsBack says...

glooper wrote:
Don't know which 84% it was that didn't want the redevelopment. I was all for it and no-one ever asked me. Of course I'm only a keen local swimmer. Still, at least wealthy conservative seafront hovites can breathe easy in their big semis now.
oh boo hoo. i'm not a conservatice but i don't want this rubbish right in front of my house!

do it up, as it is, don't knock it down and build it 500 times higher...
[quote][p][bold]glooper[/bold] wrote: Don't know which 84% it was that didn't want the redevelopment. I was all for it and no-one ever asked me. Of course I'm only a keen local swimmer. Still, at least wealthy conservative seafront hovites can breathe easy in their big semis now. [/p][/quote]oh boo hoo. i'm not a conservatice but i don't want this rubbish right in front of my house! do it up, as it is, don't knock it down and build it 500 times higher... NoWayIsBack
  • Score: 0

7:26pm Sat 8 Nov 08

fussy galore says...

The King is dead....

Long live the KIng!
The King is dead.... Long live the KIng! fussy galore
  • Score: 0

7:50pm Sat 8 Nov 08

Brigadier Monty says...

Finally the news has come out at last. What a dreadful waste of tax payers money. Awful. Surely they can now plan to go and sort out the King Alfred, and give it some much needed renovation and give Hove, and Brighton, a really good top quality leisure centre to go to. I am also glad because Cheetahs gym is not going anywhere too!!
Finally the news has come out at last. What a dreadful waste of tax payers money. Awful. Surely they can now plan to go and sort out the King Alfred, and give it some much needed renovation and give Hove, and Brighton, a really good top quality leisure centre to go to. I am also glad because Cheetahs gym is not going anywhere too!! Brigadier Monty
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Sat 8 Nov 08

harwood says...

Brigadier Monty wrote:
Finally the news has come out at last. What a dreadful waste of tax payers money. Awful. Surely they can now plan to go and sort out the King Alfred, and give it some much needed renovation and give Hove, and Brighton, a really good top quality leisure centre to go to. I am also glad because Cheetahs gym is not going anywhere too!!
tax payers money? what planet do you live on, it was the developers who have spent the VAST majority of the money on the project not the council!

And as for the council being able to find what is it, £46 million to build a sports centre, get real, the developers were providing it free to us, at the expense of a few posh middle class Conservative Nimbys on Hove seafront in their expensive penthouse flats and big semis, these people make me sick, they are responsible for this not being built with all their delaying tactics, shame on you! At least Falmer will be built and the Brighton Eye.
[quote][p][bold]Brigadier Monty[/bold] wrote: Finally the news has come out at last. What a dreadful waste of tax payers money. Awful. Surely they can now plan to go and sort out the King Alfred, and give it some much needed renovation and give Hove, and Brighton, a really good top quality leisure centre to go to. I am also glad because Cheetahs gym is not going anywhere too!![/p][/quote]tax payers money? what planet do you live on, it was the developers who have spent the VAST majority of the money on the project not the council! And as for the council being able to find what is it, £46 million to build a sports centre, get real, the developers were providing it free to us, at the expense of a few posh middle class Conservative Nimbys on Hove seafront in their expensive penthouse flats and big semis, these people make me sick, they are responsible for this not being built with all their delaying tactics, shame on you! At least Falmer will be built and the Brighton Eye. harwood
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Sat 8 Nov 08

ABC1 says...

Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow...........
Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow........... ABC1
  • Score: 0

8:57pm Sat 8 Nov 08

mikardo says...

Sorry to shatter your illusions but the 'free sports centre' required a council susbidy of £28 million for the public housing . The District Valuer warned in 2006 that the developer's figures did not add up yet the council ploughed on with Karis who seem reluctant to file company accounts . Time for the council to ditch Karis and refurbish the present building .
Sorry to shatter your illusions but the 'free sports centre' required a council susbidy of £28 million for the public housing . The District Valuer warned in 2006 that the developer's figures did not add up yet the council ploughed on with Karis who seem reluctant to file company accounts . Time for the council to ditch Karis and refurbish the present building . mikardo
  • Score: 0

9:04pm Sat 8 Nov 08

NoWayIsBack says...

ABC1 wrote:
Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow...........
No, because 72% of people actually WANT that, and it will NOT block out half the sea front, and it WILL bring in millions of pounds to Brighton.

So, you know, which is more worthwhile?

That's right.

Now go home and think about what you've said.
[quote][p][bold]ABC1[/bold] wrote: Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow...........[/p][/quote]No, because 72% of people actually WANT that, and it will NOT block out half the sea front, and it WILL bring in millions of pounds to Brighton. So, you know, which is more worthwhile? That's right. Now go home and think about what you've said. NoWayIsBack
  • Score: 0

12:48am Sun 9 Nov 08

Henfield Hovite says...

The scheme was always over ambitious and the figures never really stacked up. Something needs to be done however with the KA, and hopefully a more realistic scheme to redevelop this part of hove may be forthcoming.

I also agree with Mogfish. I couldnt believe the front page of the argus. Is the Argus really trying to compare the death of the gehry towers commercial development with the atrocity of 9/11 and the subsequent 3,000 deaths? Disgraceful!!
The scheme was always over ambitious and the figures never really stacked up. Something needs to be done however with the KA, and hopefully a more realistic scheme to redevelop this part of hove may be forthcoming. I also agree with Mogfish. I couldnt believe the front page of the argus. Is the Argus really trying to compare the death of the gehry towers commercial development with the atrocity of 9/11 and the subsequent 3,000 deaths? Disgraceful!! Henfield Hovite
  • Score: 0

8:49am Sun 9 Nov 08

ABC1 says...

NoWayIsBack wrote:
ABC1 wrote:
Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow...........
No, because 72% of people actually WANT that, and it will NOT block out half the sea front, and it WILL bring in millions of pounds to Brighton.

So, you know, which is more worthwhile?

That's right.

Now go home and think about what you've said.
Where do you get that figure from? In the soviet-style referendum, 60+% of people who could have voted for the stadium didn't.

Where will these millions come from? Taxpayers subsidising the stadium via the educational bits?

You were very lucky we have three marginal Labour seats here....
[quote][p][bold]NoWayIsBack[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ABC1[/bold] wrote: Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow...........[/p][/quote]No, because 72% of people actually WANT that, and it will NOT block out half the sea front, and it WILL bring in millions of pounds to Brighton. So, you know, which is more worthwhile? That's right. Now go home and think about what you've said.[/p][/quote]Where do you get that figure from? In the soviet-style referendum, 60+% of people who could have voted for the stadium didn't. Where will these millions come from? Taxpayers subsidising the stadium via the educational bits? You were very lucky we have three marginal Labour seats here.... ABC1
  • Score: 0

10:51am Sun 9 Nov 08

saveHOVE says...

The Argus front page is brilliant. It has taken the developer's own computer-generated depiction (or a photo of the architect's model) of Frank Gehry's proposed design for the central towers section of the King Alfred development and photo-shopped it to look like a demolition is taking place.

The destruction of New York's Twin Towers was massive and has lodged in our brains. But ask yourself why Frank Gehry designed those two towers as two towers that emulated the appearance of the Twin Towers collapsing?

Deliberate or sub-conscious? Think!

The Argus has done an extraordinary front page of great wit and comment that should win an award if there's one going.
The Argus front page is brilliant. It has taken the developer's own computer-generated depiction (or a photo of the architect's model) of Frank Gehry's proposed design for the central towers section of the King Alfred development and photo-shopped it to look like a demolition is taking place. The destruction of New York's Twin Towers was massive and has lodged in our brains. But ask yourself why Frank Gehry designed those two towers as two towers that emulated the appearance of the Twin Towers collapsing? Deliberate or sub-conscious? Think! The Argus has done an extraordinary front page of great wit and comment that should win an award if there's one going. saveHOVE
  • Score: 0

11:22am Sun 9 Nov 08

NoWayIsBack says...

ABC1 wrote:
NoWayIsBack wrote:
ABC1 wrote:
Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow...........
No, because 72% of people actually WANT that, and it will NOT block out half the sea front, and it WILL bring in millions of pounds to Brighton.

So, you know, which is more worthwhile?

That's right.

Now go home and think about what you've said.
Where do you get that figure from? In the soviet-style referendum, 60+% of people who could have voted for the stadium didn't.

Where will these millions come from? Taxpayers subsidising the stadium via the educational bits?

You were very lucky we have three marginal Labour seats here....
ummm... private financiers? sponsorship?

what planet do you live on? one that is going backwards? scared of change? move on, get on with your life.
[quote][p][bold]ABC1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]NoWayIsBack[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ABC1[/bold] wrote: Hopefully Falmer stadium will follow...........[/p][/quote]No, because 72% of people actually WANT that, and it will NOT block out half the sea front, and it WILL bring in millions of pounds to Brighton. So, you know, which is more worthwhile? That's right. Now go home and think about what you've said.[/p][/quote]Where do you get that figure from? In the soviet-style referendum, 60+% of people who could have voted for the stadium didn't. Where will these millions come from? Taxpayers subsidising the stadium via the educational bits? You were very lucky we have three marginal Labour seats here....[/p][/quote]ummm... private financiers? sponsorship? what planet do you live on? one that is going backwards? scared of change? move on, get on with your life. NoWayIsBack
  • Score: 0

11:39am Sun 9 Nov 08

Voice of the silent Majority says...

Cgull wrote:
So what are we going to do with the pool? Why not sell a bit of land above the by-pass and use that to have the supa dupa pool? And for those people who say we can't build north of the by-pass, would you rather the ugly twin towers instead?
Oh well said..lets see BHCC kick this around for ages before finaly getting around to doing nothing....agan
[quote][p][bold]Cgull[/bold] wrote: So what are we going to do with the pool? Why not sell a bit of land above the by-pass and use that to have the supa dupa pool? And for those people who say we can't build north of the by-pass, would you rather the ugly twin towers instead?[/p][/quote]Oh well said..lets see BHCC kick this around for ages before finaly getting around to doing nothing....agan Voice of the silent Majority
  • Score: 0

11:43am Sun 9 Nov 08

thensx says...

Has anyone told Brad Pitt? ...Anyone?
Has anyone told Brad Pitt? ...Anyone? thensx
  • Score: 0

12:20pm Sun 9 Nov 08

Jay-kay says...

Best news.. such an eyesore that would of been .. I dont know how it got planning permisssion,, im sure the bent councillors that took back handers are quivering now.. lets just have a nice swimming complex, for the community
Best news.. such an eyesore that would of been .. I dont know how it got planning permisssion,, im sure the bent councillors that took back handers are quivering now.. lets just have a nice swimming complex, for the community Jay-kay
  • Score: 0

7:58pm Sun 9 Nov 08

Hovebourne&bread says...

I left Hove when I got married in 1971 but before then I can remember the KA very fondly. My dad was a counciloron the Hove council for 9yrs and I can remember going to the grand opening of the bowling alley, why do the council have to make such lavish plans spending the rate payers hard earned money on an eyesore when there are other far more pressing things for the money to be spent on. Granted there is a need for a new leisure centre but why does it need to cost so much? my dad would be very upset and lobbying all concerned if he was still alive.
I left Hove when I got married in 1971 but before then I can remember the KA very fondly. My dad was a counciloron the Hove council for 9yrs and I can remember going to the grand opening of the bowling alley, why do the council have to make such lavish plans spending the rate payers hard earned money on an eyesore when there are other far more pressing things for the money to be spent on. Granted there is a need for a new leisure centre but why does it need to cost so much? my dad would be very upset and lobbying all concerned if he was still alive. Hovebourne&bread
  • Score: 0

9:55am Mon 10 Nov 08

baron1982 says...

Well its a shame that we'll lose such an iconic design by one of the worlds greatest architects. Perhaps instead of a ridiculous number of flats it should become a community/leisure centre that actually brings people to Hove.

Hove could do witha development like that as all you can do is in Hove is by overpriced food in a number of restaurants or buy houses in one Church Roads many estate agents!

Plus Brighton & Hove could do with a some developments not based around housing & creating business in order to encourage a trade that doesn't revolve around building shoe box apartments at stupidly high price.
Well its a shame that we'll lose such an iconic design by one of the worlds greatest architects. Perhaps instead of a ridiculous number of flats it should become a community/leisure centre that actually brings people to Hove. Hove could do witha development like that as all you can do is in Hove is by overpriced food in a number of restaurants or buy houses in one Church Roads many estate agents! Plus Brighton & Hove could do with a some developments not based around housing & creating business in order to encourage a trade that doesn't revolve around building shoe box apartments at stupidly high price. baron1982
  • Score: 0

9:56am Mon 10 Nov 08

pancaker says...

sorry, 74% of which people want the stadium at Falmer? Factor in the people who didn't vote, the people who weren't asked so never got the chance to express an opinion, and you get a much truer figure about how many people actually want it.

For the record I actually support the stadium but think the constant inaccurate representations of support and name-calling have been unhelpful throughout. Getting funding is hard enough with endless obvious delusion about a non-existent fanbase.
sorry, 74% of which people want the stadium at Falmer? Factor in the people who didn't vote, the people who weren't asked so never got the chance to express an opinion, and you get a much truer figure about how many people actually want it. For the record I actually support the stadium but think the constant inaccurate representations of support and name-calling have been unhelpful throughout. Getting funding is hard enough with endless obvious delusion about a non-existent fanbase. pancaker
  • Score: 0
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