PLANS to turn London’s Admiralty Arch near Trafalgar Square into a five-star hotel have been approved by Westminster Council.
The iconic gateway, which takes its name from the nearby Royal Navy Headquarters, was commissioned by Edward VII to honour the memory of his mother, Queen Victoria.
Developer Prime Investors Capital (PIC) signed a 99-year lease with the government in October, earning the taxpayer £60m, and has also agreed to pay £600,000 to the council for social housing in the borough as well as £100,000 towards public art.
It will start renovating the Grade-II building next year, converting the former office space into a 100-room hotel, residences and private members’ club.
PIC’s chief executive is Rafael Serrano, a Spanish financier who was also behind the development of the Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge.
He said: “We are delighted and grateful that Westminster City Council has granted us permission to begin work on the sensitive restoration of Admiralty Arch. We can now give this historical building a worthy and suitable purpose as its designer Sir Aston Webb originally intended and open it up to the public.”
Francis Maude, the minister for the Cabinet Office, said the development was part of a wider strategy to shrink the government estate and return money to the taxpayer, with over £1bn raised from selling-off government assets so far.