Hindujas acquire historic Old War Office in London | world | Hindustan Times
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Hindujas acquire historic Old War Office in London

world Updated: Mar 02, 2016 19:04 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
(From left to right) Juan Miguel Villar Mir, Prakash P Hinduja, parliamentary under secretary of state Mark Lancaster of the British ministry of defence and Gopichand P Hinduja, co-chairman of Hinduja Group, at the key handing over ceremony in London on Tuesday.
(From left to right) Juan Miguel Villar Mir, Prakash P Hinduja, parliamentary under secretary of state Mark Lancaster of the British ministry of defence and Gopichand P Hinduja, co-chairman of Hinduja Group, at the key handing over ceremony in London on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The Hinduja Group has completed the acquisition and taken possession of the historic Old War Office building opposite Downing Street, from where former prime minister Winston Churchill took key decisions during World War II.

Acquired on Tuesday with Spanish company Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD) on a 250-year lease from the ministry of defence, the plan is to convert it into a hotel and luxury residences. The ministry said the sale of the Old War Office was for “in excess of £350 million following a competitive marketing process”.

The heritage building, completed in 1906, contains around 1,100 rooms across seven floors, linked by more than two miles of corridors.

The two groups will restore the historic fabric of the Old War Office and revitalise a location that has an unparalleled place in Britain’s social and political history.

Speaking at a ceremony when the building’s key was handed over, Prakash P Hinduja, chairman (Europe) of the Hinduja Group, said: “We have a new vision for the Old War Office. We are delighted with the unique opportunity we have been given to become the new custodians of this famous Whitehall building.”

He said the two groups will work with ministry of defence, Westminster City Council, Historic England and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust to restore the building, and convert it into a distinguished hotel and luxury residences.

Sanjiv Chadha of the State Bank of India, the funders of the project, said: “With this high profile project and collaboration we have stepped into the London real estate market and we are committed to the successful completion of the project.”

Juan-Miguel Villar-Mir, chairman of the Villar-Mir and OHL Group, said: “We are proud to be working in partnership with the Hinduja Group on this historic and prestigious project.”

OHL Developments recently worked on successfully developing the heritage site at Canalejas in Madrid as a world-class residential, hotel and commercial destination.

The ceremony was attended by Indian High Commissioner Navtej Singh Sarna and former national security adviser M K Narayanan.

Recent high-value London acquisitions by Indians:

•The Lodha Group acquired a building owned by the Canadian High Commission in Grosvenor Square for £306 million in November 2013.

•In June 2014, Mumbai-based developer Indiabulls bought a building in central London’s Hanover Square for £155 million.

•Great Scotland Yard – the iconic building that housed the London Metropolitan police for over 60 years until 1890 – was acquired by Indian billionnaire Yusufalli Kader for £110 million, and is to be redeveloped and opened as a luxury hotel in 2017.