Westminster City Council (WCC) has granted planning permission to developers Prime Investors Capital (PIC) to renovate the former office space into a five-star hotel, residences and private members’ club.
The redevelopment is part of the wider Cabinet Office strategy to operate a more efficient government estate which has already seen it shrink by 16% since 2010 and raise over £1 billion for the taxpayer by selling buildings and land no longer needed. The 99-year lease agreement signed between HM Government and PIC in October 2012 will raise an additional £60 million from the sale of Admiralty Arch’s leasehold, as well as creating jobs within the regeneration project.
Francis Maude said: “The plans approved today will breathe new life into Admiralty Arch, transforming it from unsuitable office space into a publicly accessible landmark that everyone can admire and enjoy.
“Hard-working families rightly expect us to make the most of what we own; historical and architecturally significant buildings like the Arch shouldn’t be sitting empty in the government’s estate wasting £900,000 a year to run. Instead we’re raising £60 million for the taxpayer and working closely on every aspect with Prime Investors Capital (PIC), Westminster City Council and English Heritage to restore it to its former glory.
“Retaining the building’s freehold will mean that the public will always have a say in its future and this restoration project will create jobs, boost the local economy and help reduce the deficit.”
Cllr Robert Davis, Westminster City Council deputy leader, said: “This is an exciting application that will return an iconic piece of London’s architecture to its full glory. Personally I am delighted that this building will now see high quality public use. Since winning the leasehold following a highly competitive and rigorous bidding process, PIC has been working tirelessly with its team of 20 British experts to develop a strategy that will ensure that Admiralty Arch’s rich history will be both preserved and celebrated."
Prime Investors Capital CEO Rafael Serrano said: “We are delighted and grateful that Westminster City Council has granted us permission to begin work on the sensitive restoration of Admiralty Arch. We can now give this historical building a worthy and suitable purpose as its designer Sir Aston Webb originally intended and open it up to the public.
“A great deal of care, attention and hard work has gone into making this development possible and I am thankful to all local stakeholders, particularly the neighbors and residents who have shown their support for our scheme throughout the planning process.
“I must also thank my entire professional team, who have been integral to the success of the project. There is a great deal of challenging work ahead, and we are excited at the prospect of seeing the fruits of our labors over the coming months and years. Together we will restore Admiralty Arch into a landmark attraction the whole country can be proud of.
Originally designed as a ceremonial passage from Trafalgar Square towards Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch is a London landmark with historically and architectural significance. The plans put forward by PIC will see the Grade-1 listed building sensitively renovated in keeping with architect Sir Aston Webb’s original drawings from around 1910 with many lost designs restored.
Construction will commence in early 2014 and the hotel is expected to open its doors to the public in 2016.