non-EU investors in particular seek safe-havens
By Roxanne James

New Scotland Yard Sold to UAE Buyer

An Abu Dhabi investment firm paid £370m for London police force's New Scotland Yard HQ yesterday, £120m more than the listed guide price.

In the latest round of foreign investment in the British capital, the central London location will be turned into a development including luxury apartments, with the new owners seeking to maintain the integrity of the landmark building.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) listed the property in September as part of wider cost-saving measures that will see Britain's largest police force re-locate to a smaller site.

Jassim Alseddigi, group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Financial Group said: "The new site will be one of the most important redevelopment projects undertaken in Central London this decade, replacing a world-famous headquarters with a world-class development."

Foreign investment in the capital has brought about property price increases in excess of 20% over the past year, as non-EU investors in particular seek safe-havens for their cash in London's property market.

Having bought up substantial parts of London's skyline, foreign investors are now turning their attention to Britain's regional cities and other non-core real estate markets. Despite concerns, strong investment in Britain's property market has positive ripple-effects on local economies.

New Scotland Yard has been home to the Metropolitan Police since 1967 and is famous for its revolving triangular sign. The 56,000sqm site is the latest chunk of prime London real estate to be snapped up by foreign investors.

Another significant foreign purchase in recent weeks was London's iconic Gherkin office building, bought by a Brazilian-Lebanese billionaire. There have also been reports that foreign investors are bidding on Canary Wharf, part of London's financial district.

The police authority will be using the proceeds of the sale to balance its budget and increase investment in officer equipment, buildings and computer systems.


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