The People’s Republic of China has completed the acquisition of the iconic Royal Mint Court site in London. The vendor was a joint venture between client funds of real estate investment advisory company Delancey and the LRC Group.
Financial details were not disclosed.
The sale follows an unsolicited offer from the People’s Republic of China, which intends to transform the site into its new embassy.
Located on the edge of the City, overlooking the River Thames, and opposite the Tower of London World Heritage Site, Royal Mint Court occupies a high profile location and comprises an extensive 5.4 acres on the former Royal Mint site. It was previously home to the Royal Mint, with over 10 centuries of coin production on the site and the adjoining Tower of London. In 1560 the site was used by the Royal Navy for its first large-scale victualing yard, and in 1696 Isaac Newton was appointed as warden of the estate.
The freehold of the site was originally acquired on an off-market basis by clients of Delancey in June 2010 from the Crown Estate. The majority of the estate became vacant in early 2013, making it suitable for a wholesale major redevelopment/refurbishment, and in April 2015, a joint venture was finalised with the LRC Group. The two partners secured planning consent in February 2017 for a comprehensive refurbishment and part redevelopment, with permission to provide new retail and leisure accommodation, 1.8 acres of landscaped public realm, and 600,000 sq ft (55,750 m2) of modern high specification office space, approximately 50% more net office space than the site currently has.
Paul Goswell, managing director at Delancey, said: 'We are delighted with the People’s Republic of China’s decision to transform Royal Mint Court into their new London embassy. The scale of the buildings, coupled with the unparalleled history and large area of amenity and public realm, make it one of a kind in the City of London and undeniably perfect for the needs of a prestigious embassy. We wish the People’s Republic of China all the very best in their new London home.'
Paul Nicholls, senior director, UK Development, CBRE commented: 'This is a landmark transaction for London and emphasises the capital’s importance in a global setting. We have been working with the Chinese Embassy for many years to identify a suitable site for its new headquarters and are delighted to have acquired Royal Mint Court on its behalf. The embassy has been patient and considered in its search for a location that meets all its requirements and supports its vision to create a campus of such significant global strategic importance.'
The clients of Delancey and LRC Group were advised by Mishcon de Reya, Knight Frank, BH2. Savills helped facilitate the transaction on behalf of Delancey and LRC. CBRE and Addleshaw Goddard advised the People’s Republic of China.