Historic Scotland Yard building to be converted to luxury hotel

One of the wealthiest Indians in the Middle East, retail billionaire M A Yusuff Ali of the $5.8-billion Abu Dhabi-headquartered LuLu Group, has entered into a $170-million agreement with London-based property developer Galliard Homes to create a luxury five-star hotel at 1-5 Great Scotland Yard in London's Whitehall.

Scotland Yard Police StationThe custom-built 92,000 sq ft hotel, would be called Great Scotland Yard Hotel and open in early 2017.

The Edwardian red brick and stone building that has housed Scotland Yard Police Station, the original home of London's Metropolitan Police Service, policed most of the city in the 19th century. The police station was later converted into the British Army's recruitment center.

The iconic building is associated with investigations into such crimes as the unsolved serial-killer Jack the Ripper case (1888) and the grisly murder case, Plaistow Marshes (1864). Scotland Yard figured prominently in novels by Charles Dickens and in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series. The heritage building most recently housed the library of the Ministry of Defence (until 2004).

This development is Yusuff Ali's second investment in London, since he acquired a 10-per cent stake in the East India Company, the historic trading company which, during the 18th and 19th centuries, led the colonisation of India.

LuLu Group International, the Abu Dhabi-based conglomerate run by Kader, would assume ownership once Galliard had completed building the hotel.

Galliard acquired the 125-year lease for the Edwardian, grade II-listed building in central London in 2013 and construction of the site was already 30 per cent complete.

The hotel, which would be called The Great Scotland Yard, would open its doors in the first-quarter of 2017 and the most expensive suite could fetch a rent of as much as £10,000 a night.

LuLu has contracted Steigenberger Hotel Group for managing the luxury site once it opened.

Galliard was originally in talks to sell of the historic building to Malmaison Hotel Group, but the sale collapsed after US private equity house KSL Capital Partners offloaded Malmaison to Singapore property group Frasers Hospitality for £363 million last month.

''The negotiations with Malmaison were almost finalised and legals had been prepared,'' said Don O'Sullivan of Galliard, The Telegraph reported. The sale of Malmaison ''changed everything and the deal fell through.''

The hotel would have seven floors and two basement levels. The interior fit-out would  start in March.