London: The Hinduja Group has formally acquired the historic 1,100-room Old War Office building in central London, once occupied by Britain's war-time prime minister Winston Churchill, which will now be restored and re-developed into a 5-star hotel and residential apartments.
The heritage building at 57, Whitehall, close to the British Parliament and the Prime Minister's residence, covers 580,000 square feet spread over 7 floors connected by more than three km of corridors.
At a ceremony held yesterday, the key of the building was formally handed over to G P Hinduja, Co-Chairman of the Hinduja group, his brother P P Hinduja, Chairman of the Hinduja Group in Europe and their Spanish partner Juan-Miguel Villar-Mir, Chairman of the Villar-Mir and OHL Group.
The building, bought for an undisclosed sum, will be restored and redeveloped into a 5-star hotel and apartments. It will also feature a series of private-function rooms as well as a spa and fitness facility.
The building was sold on a 250-year lease arrangement to the companies following a competitive marketing process, the Defence Ministry had said.
The Hindujas, Britain's wealthiest people, acquired the building in partnership with Spanish industrial company Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD).
"With our Spanish partners, we have a unique vision for the Old War Office - our ambitious plans will give it a new lease of life and add a glittering new jewel to London's crown," G P Hinduja said.
G P Hinduja said "the work we will do with the Old War Office is our way of giving something back to this country."
"In keeping with the dynamic spirit of London we want to give this building a new lease of life, while remaining conscious of its unique heritage.
"We have a new vision for the Old War Office and will work meticulously to restore the distinctive and historic fabric of the building and convert it into a distinguished hotel and luxury residences, bringing a further dimension to this prominent Whitehall landmark," P P Hinduja said.
Indian High Commissioner to the UK Navtej Singh Sarna, Former National Security Adviser of India and former Governor of West Bengal M K Narayanan, leading NRI hotelier and Chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan UK JoginderSanger,and Sanjiv Chadha of the State Bank of India who are funding the project, were also present at the occasion.