The London commercial property boom continues to grow, with both foreign and domestic investors keen to take advantage of the improving economic climate. However, whilst new builds continue to attract international attention, redevelopment projects tend to be the cornerstone of this surge in activity.
This week, Westminster City Council finally granted planning permission for an ambitious project to redevelop one of the UK’s most famous landmarks. The Admiralty Arch, located on the corner of the Trafalgar Square Conservation Area, dates back to 1911 and holds Grade I listed status, making significant alterations a difficult area for the developer.
Prime Investors Capital (PIC) acquired a 99 year lease on the building, costing £60 million, last year and immediately began to make plans for the iconic property’s future. However, negotiations have become lengthy and threatened to put the brakes on the project entirely after Westminster City Council raised issues relating to affordable housing in the area.
Originally, the local authority asked PIC to provide a “policy compliant” sum of £1 million in order to assist in the cost of building affordable social housing. PIC responded with a counter-offer of £600,000 which, until the 20th August, the council did not believe was acceptable.
Fortunately, terms have now been agreed, allowing PIC to put the gears in motion to transform the Admiralty Arch. Upon completion, the property will comprise a 100-bedroom luxury hotel, with additional features including a number of flats and a private members’ club.
Deputy leader of Westminster City Council, Councillor Robert Davis, believes that this deal will usher in a positive future for a key part in London’s cultural heritage.
He says; “This is an exciting application that will return an iconic piece of London’s architecture to its full glory.”
With a number of hotel schemes springing up across the capital, it is almost certain that the Admiralty Arch will face strong competition upon completion of the redevelopment. However, with very few of its rivals able to boast a spectacular view over Buckingham Palace as a particular feature, it seems that PIC’s investment into this classic property will prove to be a very wise move in the future.
Do you think buildings such as the Admiralty Arch should be preserved in their original state with only light maintenance work allowed, or does incorporating hotels and leisure facilities allow them to move forward into the 21st century?
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