As international embassies relocate their former addresses in high-demand areas will be ready for developers to convert
For years, demand for property in London’s most affluent areas has far outstripped supply, something which could be about to change as many of the world’s embassies vacate their central London headquarters.
In what has been labelled the ‘Great Embassy Exit’, embassies including those owned by the US, the Netherlands, China and Brazil, have already secured new premises further afield, leaving their former bases in grand neo-classical properties ripe for conversion back into luxury apartments and family homes.
The decision by many countries to find a new home for their embassies rests largely on the potential to move to more modern, high-specification offices and release equity from the sale of their current addresses.
With many choosing new premises in Nine Elms at Vauxhall, some property experts are predicting that this area will soon become the new ‘embassy quarter’. The US government has already bought a new £620m base there, closely followed by the Netherlands which has secured a 50,000 sq ft property. China has shortlisted the 19-acre former Royal Mail site, also at Nine Elms.
But what does all this mean for the residential market in places such as Mayfair? Developers are already moving in on the area to begin converting former commercial premises and high-profile government bases back to residential properties.
In 2009, builder Finchatton bought the former US navy’s base on Grosvenor Square for £250m and has planning permission to turn it into 41 apartments. The former Brazilian embassy on Green Street has been sold for £40m and will be converted into a single residence.
Experts are now predicting a possible rise in popularity and sales in neighbouring Marylebone, which itself is home to 19 embassies. If the trend continues for those embassies to find cheaper premises and release equity, then Marylebone too is earmarked for something of a property revival.
Source: Homes and Property
Image in body text licensed by creative commons Herry Lawford
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