Mayor Defends Scotland Yard Sale to Overseas Investor

Posted on 12 December, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

New Scotland Yard — the home of the Metropolitan Police since 1967 — has been sold to an Abu Dhabi developer for £120m more than the guide price.

Metropolitan Police HQ New Scotland Yard Broadway London SW1

The Westminster office complex was put on the market by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in September, with a starting price of price of £250m. With more than a dozen international bidders in the running the building finally went to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group for £370m.

“This landmark deal allows us to preserve the past whilst giving today’s Met a vital cash boost,” commented Boris Johnson after the sale.

Fending off criticism over yet another foreign investor owning a large chunk of the capital’s real estate, the mayor replied: “There is no economic difference between having an investor from Abu Dhabi or having the BP pension fund do this … Anybody who thinks otherwise is, I’m afraid, completely economically illiterate.”

The Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) — an Abu Dhabi-headquartered, multi-billion dollar alternative investment firm primarily focused on financial services and real estate — described the deal as another “landmark addition to its London portfolio”. Last month it announced the completion of a £310m financing deal for the redevelopment of One Palace Street, situated adjacent to Buckingham Palace.

“This acquisition of New Scotland Yard further demonstrates ADFG’s status as a global player in the real estate sector,” said the group’s chief executive Jassim Alseddiqi. “ADFG has become synonymous with successfully sourcing exciting, high-profile projects and then brilliantly managing them through to completion.

“With the New Scotland Yard building and One Palace Street, ADFG is now overseeing multiple prestigious developments in London’s most desirable addresses. We are delighted that ADFG is playing a significant role in transforming London’s iconic cityscape for the long-term future, while maximizing returns for our stakeholders.”

According to the mayor’s office the site will be redeveloped into a residential-led scheme with a large office element. There will also be a hotel and shops.

“The New Scotland Yard site will be one of the most important redevelopment projects undertaken in central London this decade, replacing a world famous headquarters with a world class development,” added Jassim Alseddiqi. “With the bid process now complete, we look forward to creating an exceptional new landmark for London.”

It is understood the Met has raised £215m through the sale of 52 buildings in recent years. The sell-off is part of the force’s plans to save more than £500m over the next two-and-a-half years. After its latest disposal it will be moving to new headquarters in the Curtis Green building on Victoria Embankment — only yards from its original home at Great Scotland Yard.

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “We now expect to need to be making savings of up to £1.4bn by the end of the next spending review, including some £600m which we will have delivered by 2015-16.

“This is equivalent to a third of the Met’s original budget so this money is absolutely vital to us.”

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