What you need to know
Capital & Counties is on the cusp of selling the Empress State Building, which sits in the heart of its controversial Earl’s Court development in west London, to the mayor of London’s office for around £240m, business magazine Property Week has revealed.
The deal, which is expected to complete soon after Capco’s annual results next week, will see the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) buy the building it already occupies.
The 31-storey tower, which is home to the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism and organised crime centre and is one of London’s most closely guarded sites, is being sold for significantly more than its most recent valuation of £226m.
MOPAC’s existing lease on the building, which was built in 1961, was due to expire next year. The deal brings to an end Capco’s plans to convert the building into a residential block. As part of its £12bn masterplan for the 77-acre Earl’s Court site, Capco had planned to redevelop the office, which was briefly the tallest commercial building in London until Millbank Tower was built in 1962, into 440 new apartments.
The deal marks Capco’s first sale on the Earl’s Court site and comes amid persistent rumours that the group is looking to sell two council estates on the site.
Last December, a local protest group alleged Capco was in talks with Saudi Arabia-based investor The Olayan Group to sell the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates for £500m, something Capco has denied.
Capco has fought a long-running battle with the West Ken Gibbs Green Community Homes action group over its plans for Earl’s Court, which included the demolition of the two housing estates.