Orega's stunning business centre at The Beehive near Gatwick Airport has become only the 13th recipient of a special commemorative plaque conferred by the Royal Aeronautical Society since launching its heritage award scheme in 2008.
The aeronautical heritage awards are given to people, places and things that have made a significant contribution to the art and science of aeronautics within the UK, a criterion which The Beehive amply fulfils given its original role as the first Gatwick Airport passenger terminal building. Dating from 1936, the unusual white circular building became the headquarters of GB Airways before being re-launched in 2009 as a business centre by Orega and its joint venture management agreement partner and building owner, The Bland Group.
Speaking at the event at Orega Gatwick to mark the occasion, Roger Beazley, chairman of the Royal Aeronautical Society Heritage Awards, said it was the first time he had seen inside the building since its renovation and described it as "tremendous". He thanked the Society's Peter Davison, who organises proposals for the awards, and John King, who issues them.
James Gaggero, chairman of The Bland Group, added that like the building itself, his family had a long history in the aviation sector, dating back to the 1930s when it founded Gibraltar Airways, later GB Airways. James said: "We've made The Beehive relevant for today; people love the charm and character of the building; the beauty of its circular design. What we see now is The Bland Group's commitment to it."
Zach Douglas, joint MD of Orega, commented: "It's a great honour for The Beehive to receive this award in recognition of its major contribution to the aeronautical world. We are proud to be associated with such a wonderful building and delighted that we could give it a new lease of life as a business centre for the 21st century."
The Bland Group invested £1.6m in restoring the 22,000 sq ft building and converting it into serviced offices before it reopened in 2009. It now enjoys full occupation while its meeting rooms attract a steady stream of businesses keen to take advantage of The Beehive’s unique characteristics and excellent location minutes from Gatwick Airport.