Indian Developer Snaps Up £90m Strand Building For Luxury Hotel Conversion

An Indian property developer has bought a building on London’s the Strand for more than £90 million and revealed plans to turn it into a luxury 200-bedroom hotel.

Currently let as offices to Westminster City Council and retail space to Boots, 5 Strand has been sold by BlackRock UK Property Fund to ABIL Group.

According to The Caterer, the property was marketed with plans designed by Adjaye Associates for the hotel along with planning consent for new offices, retail space and luxury residential accommodation.

It currently has 62,000 sq ft of Grade A offices as well as 38,000 sq ft of private residential from the seventh through to the 11th floors.

Alchemi, the building’s development manager, said the sale attracted huge interest which it contributed to having delivered “an outstanding planning consent with great design”.

“There were 22 bids received and resulted in a sale that far exceeded client expectations,” it added.

New York-headquartered BlackRock had set a reserve price of £80 million for the iconic building.

5 Strand is the first purchase in the UK for ABIL Group, which has developed several luxury hotels operating under Marriott brands in India, including the St Regis Mumbai, W Goa, the Westin Pune and Le Meridien Nagpur.

“We intend to build a world-class luxury hotel of about 200 plus rooms and would soon begin the discussions with leading hotel management companies for the brand tie-up,” said Amit Bhosale, managing director of ABIL. “We hope to start the construction of the new hotel at this place by mid next year.”

ABIL Group is planning to redevelop 5 Strand into a five-star hotel with 210 to 230 keys and an additional investment of over £80 million.

Bhosale said good opportunities for the hospitality sector and the company’s comfort with London made it choose the UK capital over any other city in the world for its first overseas project

Based in Pune, a city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, ABIL Group was founded by Avinash Bhosale in 1979. The company has been involved in the construction of several infrastructure projects in India, including highways, bridges, tunnels, canals and dams.

In 2001, ABIL Group entered the hospitality sector through a joint venture with Mumbai’s Sun-n-Sand chain of hotels.

Gary Witham, director in the hotels team at Savills, which acted on behalf of ABIL Group, said: “The London hotel market continues to attract a wide range of overseas investors with the city providing attractive long-term income prospects.

“As the first purchase for our client, 5 Strand makes an excellent choice providing the opportunity to create a leading purpose-built hotel in a tourist location that is recognisable to a global audience.”

DealMakerz thinks the closely-contested auction demonstrates the appeal of London’s commercial property sector. Investors from China, Europe, India and the Middle East have all been attracted to the capital in recent years.

Indiabulls Real Estate, for example, is currently building a luxury project comprising 80 branded and serviced luxury Mandarin Oriental Residences and a fully-integrated Mandarin Oriental Hotel with 50 guest rooms and suites.

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