As one-third of UK songwriting and producing trio Stock Aitken Waterman, Pete Waterman was part of a pop consortium that rang up more than 200 Top 40 hits in the 1980s and early 1990s with acts like Dead or Alive, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley and Kylie Minogue. The group's records defined the establishment pop of the 1980s.
Regardless of one's feelings about the music, Waterman has added another line to his CV: landlord. Waterman is now part-owner of a historic London landmark, the County Hall building overlooking the River Thames which is familiar to millions as the location of London's aquarium and the building next to the London Eye ferris wheel. Waterman joined the investor group that owns the building when he moved his recording studio to the property in 2002. Late last year, he moved the offices of Pete Waterman Limited to the site—and is now looking to help lease the remaining 300,000 square feet of space.
Construction on the historic building was started in 1911 and was completed in 1933. The building served as the center of local government in London until the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher famously dissolved the Greater London Council, then led by Mayor Ken Livingstone. Because of its proximity to Parliament across the river, County Hall was apparently a convenient place to display anti-government slogans.
More recently the building housed Charles Saatchi's modern art collection—made famous for Damian Hirst's swimming sharks, mutilated cows and Myra Hindley portraits—but that relationship ended in a protracted fight between the art collector and management; Saatchi eventually packed up his art and is moving his gallery to the King's Road. One of the major complaints was that Saatchi was using common spaces in the building as an exhibition room.
Still, according to Property Week, Waterman holds no grudges against Saatchi. The “Pop Idol” judge says he hopes to attract new, creative tenants to fill out the property. Perhaps understandably, the British Phonographic Industry, the UK's record industry lobby, has already moved into space on the second floor.