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Lulu to turn Great Scotland Yard into luxury hotel.

Abu Dhabi: Lulu Group International, the Abu Dhabi-based retail chain, announced it has finalised a EeAu110 million deal to acquire the Great Scotland Yard, home of London's Metropolitan Police Service, with plans to transform the building into a hotel.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the group said it would is set to develop a 92,00-square-foot, five-star hotel within the building after signing an agreement with Galliard Homes, a London-based property company. An adjoining Grade 2 listed Victorian townhouse will also be incorporated into the property.

Once completed, the hotel will be seven floors high with two basement levels, and will retain the Edwardian Imperial red brick and stone faEaA*ade.

"When we created Twenty14 Holdings, we wanted to acquire key assets across the [countries] that we are expanding our operations to, and London was always a place where we wanted to have our flag. This is an opportunity that came to us, and after analysing it, we realised it would be great," said Adeeb Ahmad, managing director of Twenty14 Holdings, the hospitality arm of Lulu Group.

Speaking to Gulf News, Ahmad said that hotel will retain the Great Scotland Yard name, and capitalise on it by incorporating the building's history into the guest experience. However, he expected the location to be the hotel's unique selling point.

"The location is what's going to play a key role [in attracting demand]. It's very close to 10 Downing Street, and Trafalgar Square, which is a huge tourist attraction, so it would have a good mix of both government business and touristic side," he said.

"In London, you have the likes of The Berkeley, Claridge's, The Lanesborough, so it's unique to that market that each property would have its own characteristics. None of the major London properties are actually called by the operator name; [they're] always known for [their] historical factors, so it's not that different from what we're doing here," he said.

Asked about further acquisition plans in the country, Ahmad said the company's focus currently is to get the hotel up and running.

The hotel was the location of the original Scotland Yard Police Station, and later the British Army recruitment centre for Westminster. It is Lulu's second investment in London, after a 10 per cent stake in East India Company, a trading company, and a 40 per cent stake in its food subsidiary for a total of around $85 million (Dh312.2 million).

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 27, 2015
Words:420
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