Hindujas, Spanish group jointly acquire UK's Old War Office building

The Hinduja Group along with Spanish company Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD) has acquired the UK's Old War Office building, a landmark property in London which once housed the office of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The 580,000-sq ft heritage property at 57 Whitehall, which has been sold on a 250 year-lease arrangement, will now be restored and re-developed.

Britain's ministry of defence confirmed the sale but did not disclose the value of the transaction, Some reports, however, peg the sale value of the property it at £100 million.

The companies acquired the property following a competitive marketing process, the defence ministry said yesterday.

"We will make every efforts to honour the heritage and restoration of this national monument, elevate its status and reconnect it with the public," Srichand P Hinduja and Gopichand P Hinduja said.

"We will forge a new future for the site, creating a vibrant and sustainable destination that retains and enhances the historical importance of the building. We are proud to be playing such a crucial role in this new chapter for the Old War Office," the Hinduja brothers said.

"We are very proud to be participating in one of the most important development projects in the world," Juan-Miguel Villar-Mir, chair of the OHLD Group and Grupo Villar Mir, said.

"We have a thorough understanding and appreciation of heritage and conservation issues and our commitment now as custodians of this landmark building is to leverage its untapped historical value and potential cultural and social significance," he added.

The Old War Office building, constructed in the years between the start of the 20th century and the outbreak of the First World War, is witness to events of great importance, notably the two World Wars and is hence intimately connected with history.

Several crucial decisions have been taken within its walls and its historical and social importance cannot be underestimated.

Both partners will use their considerable experience in the re-development of heritage properties and work closely with English heritage and specially chosen restoration experts to ensure the building is accorded the respect it deserves.