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Mumbai firm buys prime diplomatic property in UK

india Updated: Nov 29, 2013 08:47 IST
Lodha Developers

Mumbai-based Lodha Developers have been confirmed as the new owners of Macdonald House in central London, which currently houses the Canadian High Commission.

Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Gordon Campbell,confirmed on Thursday night that legal contracts have been exchanged for the sale of 1 Grosvenor Square for 530 million Canadian dollars.

"We thank Lodha Group for their keen interest and welcome this new phase in the project," Campbell said.

The High Commission, advised by Savills UK, said the Lodha Group will acquire the property.

"There was exceptional interest from international parties for the property on Grosvenor Square. We are looking forward to the move to Canada House on Trafalgar Square, Canada's traditional home in the United Kingdom, in the next year," he said.

Canada had first announced its intention to sell the property in Canada's House of Commons in February.

It has described the move as a key step in plans to revitalise Canada House on Trafalgar Square in the heart of London and to consolidate the Canadian High Commission?s diplomatic activity in the UK in one central London location, "saving valuable operational dollars".

"The acquisition of this marquee asset overlooking London's most renowned garden square, in the heart of Mayfair, and in close proximity to Bond Street and Mount Street is a great opportunity for our company," Abhishek Lodha, MD of Lodha Group said.

The value of Macdonald House, if converted to residential use, is estimated at over 450 million pounds.

"This is without doubt one of the finest addresses in central London," Tim Whitmey, director in Savills development team, said.

London has been witnessing a massive property boom this year, largely triggered by cash-rich overseas investors keen on investing in the British capital.

Estate agent Wetherell recently claimed at least 20 of the 165 diplomatic missions in London have been sold or explored a sale in the past six months after prices in up-market embassy areas rose by up to 60 per cent since 2007.

The Canadians are following in the footsteps of their American counterparts, who sold the US embassy on Grosvenor Square in 2008.

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