Admiralty Arch To Become Luxury Hotel
Admiralty Arch has been sold on a 99-year lease for £60m and is to be turned into a luxury hotel, it has been confirmed.
The ceremonial gateway between The Mall and Trafalgar Square has been leased to Prime Investors Capital, the company behind the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge.
Residential apartments are also planned for the first and second floors, with up to 100,000 visitors a year expected to pass through the hotel.
Sky News first reported the deal on October 24, which is dependent on Westminster City Council granting planning permission for the multi-million pound conversion of the Grade I listed building.
Cabinet minister Francis Maude†said the Government had secured a "good price" for the building and dismissed claims it would become the preserve of the super rich.
"It is not the preserve of anyone at the moment and it won't be," he said. "The bars and restaurants will be open to the public. We think the price is a good price, a fair price.
"Obviously our main concern was to make sure the building is properly looked after, properly renovated and treated with the respect and affection it deserves."
The arch, which has been the focus of many national ceremonies over the last century, was commissioned by King Edward VII as a tribute to his mother Queen Victoria and was completed in 1912. The restoration will use original drawings by architect Sir Aston Webb dating back to 1910.
Mr Maude said it was a great example of how Government property could spur growth and would bring new jobs to London.
"Its astonishing appearance gives no clue to the somewhat less astonishing history when it has been serving for most of that time as slightly random office space for the Government," he said.
"It's a really great shame that in the 100 years since it was opened there has been virtually no public access to the arch outside of Government officials."
He added: "Impressive monument that it is on the outside, for decades the arch has languished as a glorified, actually not that glorified, office space. A taxpayer-owned building that offered little value to the taxpayer.
"This arrangement will not only save money, it will bring this London landmark back to life, opening it up to the public and ensuring they have a say in its future."