The Admiralty Arch, a historic landmark in London, will be turned into a luxury hotel after an agreement between the government and Prime Investors Capital (PIC) for its £60 million, 99-year lease. The gateway between Trafalgar Square and The Mall will be transformed into a five-star hotel with 100 rooms, presidential and royal suites, a spa, ballroom and fine dining restaurant. On the north side of the building, the company is planning to put residential apartments on the first and second floors.
However, this deal depends on if Westminster City Council approves planning permission for the Grade I listing to undergo a multimillion pound renovation. PIC says that the cost will be determined by which plans the council will allow. They admitted that they didn’t have a set time for when the hotel is expected to be opened to the public.
The transformation will use original drawings from architect Sir Aston Webb from 1910. PIC heritage expert Chris Miele says that this will really increase appreciation for the landmark. Officials say as many as 100,000 people are expected to visit the Admiralty Arch hotel every year after it’s opened. They anticipate between 40,000 and 50,000 of these to be guests and the remaining to be just visiting.
The Admiralty Arch has been the focus of several national ceremonies since it was built. King Edward VII commissioned the landmark as a tribute to Queen Victoria, his mother, and it was finished in 1912. Most recently, it was the centre of celebrations after the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Cabinet Minister Francis Maude insists that the government got a good price for the lease, and he dismissed claims that only the super rich will be able to afford stays. The Admiralty Arch isn’t there to preserve anyone now, and it won’t be in the future. The restaurants and bars will be open to the public. They think the £60 million lease price is good and fair. Their main concern is obviously making sure the building is looked after, renovated and treated properly, with the affection and respect it deserves.
Maude continued that this deal is a great example of how government properties can spur growth and will bring new jobs to the British capital. The Admiralty Arch’s amazing appearance gives no indication of the less amazing history it’s had as a slightly random space for government offices. It’s a shame that there hasn’t been much public access to the building in its 100 years.
Maude added that it was clear in May 2010 that the building would fall into disrepair without significant renovation. This would have been a tragic waste of history, and they are determined to find a real purpose for it – preserving it for future generations and generating value for taxpayers. The arch has deteriorated as an office space for decades. This arrangement will save money, bring the landmark back to life, open it to the public and ensure taxpayers have a say in its future.
Last November, the government revealed that the building had been put on the market to cut taxpayer costs. The government has vacated another 36 property holdings in the capital – about 20% of its office space – since May 2010 to a tune of £90 million in savings.