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The Hotel Metropole, London
A consortium let by International Hotel Investments Plc (IHI) will refurbish the Metropole building in central London and turn it into a five-star hotel, having had its bid for the property accepted.
The Crown Estate ” which manages the British monarchy”s property portfolio ” invited offers last year and has agreed a price of ”130m ($250m) for the old hotel and adjoining 10 Whitehall Place, near Trafalgar Square.
The Metropole Hotel first opened in 1885, but was used as offices by the Ministry of Defence from the Second World War until 2004, since when it has been closed. The Estate received bids from nearly 30 international developers, but IHI”s proposals were sympathetic to the building”s heritage, as the others wanted to demolish behind the fa”ade and completely rebuild.
”IHI”s bid stood out from a strong field of competitors with a proposal to refurbish the building rather than rebuild behind the existing fa”ade,” said The Crown Estate head of office portfolio, Charles Gardner. ”We were impressed by IHI”s track record and are confident that they will restore the once grand Metropole Hotel to its former glory.”
IHI will turn the building into a luxury 283-room hotel under the Corinthia brand, with a suite of adjoining apartments.
IHI chairman Alfred Pisani said: ”IHI and our partners, Istithmar Hotels [of Dubai] and Libyan Foreign Investment Company, are very much looking forward to establishing a presence here in London - as investors, developers and operators of the Corinthia Hotels brand.
”We are excited about our plans for the refurbishment of the Metropole Building as a five-star luxury hotel, but above all we are eager to become part of London's vibrant hotel community and to working closely with The Crown Estate.”
There is currently no indication of a target opening date, but it is thought to be some time before the London Olympics in 2012.