The Metropolitan Police Service’s world famous New Scotland Yard headquarters has been sold to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group for £370 million in what is the biggest shake-up of the Met’s property estate since the 1960s. Proceeds from the sale are to be invested in cutting-edge technology and a leaner, more modern estate while the Met’s move to a new headquarters – the Curtis Green building on London’s Embankment – is already in progress.
In a landmark deal orchestrated by London Mayor Boris Johnson, the sale secured £120 million more than the guide price and three times what was originally paid for the site freehold back in 2008. Proceeds from the sale will kick-start a major investment opportunity to secure the future of the Metropolitan Police Service, with the funds being used to kit out officers across London with mobile technology such as tablets, smart phones and body cameras, in turn enabling them to spend more time out on the streets. It will also allow much-needed investment in the remaining estate along with modern ICT infrastructure and new software platforms.
New Scotland Yard is also home to many unique artefacts and policing memorabilia dating back to the formation of the Metropolitan Police Service in 1829, none of which are currently on public display. The additional proceeds from the sale mean that a small portion of money raised can be used to relocate this collection to a dedicated museum site, allowing visitors from the UK and around the world to see rare crime artefacts and heritage items that tell the fabulous history of Scotland Yard.
Marketed as ‘Ten Broadway’, the 1.7-acre site, 600,000 square foot building attracted intense interest from around the world. In the end there were 11 credible bids with the Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), a multi-billion dollar alternative investment company based in Abu Dhabi, securing the deal.
With a track record of financing major central London developments, including the 1 Palace Street project adjacent to Buckingham Palace, ADFG now plans to create a mixed-use residential development on the site.
The headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service since 1967, the outdated New Scotland Yard building was put on the market by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) last September for a guide price of £250 million. No longer fit for operational purposes, the proceeds raised by the sale of the building will be used to deliver on the Mayor’s commitment to balance the Met’s budget and keep policing numbers high.
Once redeveloped and sold, the Victoria Street site is projected to yield up to £100,000,000 million in stamp duty receipts for the UK Exchequer.
Radical overhaul of the Met’s estate
The sale is part of an ongoing radical overhaul of the Met’s estate which has so far raised £215 million through the sale of 52 under-used and outdated buildings. When completed in 2016, this restructure will save London’s police force over £60 million in annual running costs – enough to fund 1,000 officers – and will leave behind a smaller, more modern estate including a brand new training facility in Hendon and a world class forensics lab and Control Centre in Lambeth.
As stated, the operational headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service is now on the move to the Curtis Green building on Victoria Embankment. This building is owned by MOPAC and has been empty since late 2011. Currently undergoing a £58 million transformation into a slimmed down headquarters, this relocation alone will save the Met over £6 million per annum in running costs.
Commenting on the deal, Boris Johnson said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has a unique place in history and needs a home that’s fit for the future. However, police budgets are under real pressure. The sale of this underused and outdated building means we can now not only protect that rich heritage, but also fund the new headquarters and kit out bobbies with the latest mobile technology to secure the future of the force. This landmark deal allows us to preserve the past while giving today’s Met a vital cash boost such that our officers can continue to safeguard London and its citizens.”
Stephen Greenhalgh (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime) added: “This deal shows that we were right to put bobbies before buildings. Only by taking the tough decisions to shrink the Met estate and instead focus resources on the fron tline are we now able to invest in the modern kit and technology the police need to fight crime in the 21st Century. The Scotland Yard sale is a win for everyone. Police officers receive the investment in technology they need, Londoners are afforded the modern, efficient police service they deserve and the public purse benefits from a £100 million windfall from stamp duty, in turn helping to fund our schools and hospitals.”
Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM said: “Police funding continues to be under extreme pressure. We now expect to need to making savings of up to £1.4 billion by the end of the next spending review, including some £600 million which we will have delivered by 2015-2016. This is equivalent to a third of the Met’s original budget so this money is absolutely vital to us. It will allow us to reinvest in our remaining estate and in the technology needed to support our officers as they fight crime and support victims. It’s only with this kind of intelligent investment that we will be able to do more with less.”
The sale of New Scotland Yard was handled by Jones Lang LaSalle. As the home of the Metropolitan Police Service, Scotland Yard has moved several times before – from Whitehall Place to Great Scotland Yard in 1875, to the Norman Shaw building in 1890 and then on to the current building in 1967. This future move therefore marks a return to nearer its founding location.
As mentioned, the freehold of New Scotland Yard was bought in 2008 for £123.5 million and it would have cost in excess of £50 million to bring the building back up to standard.
The Estate Strategy, launched last year, is available at: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime and covers plans for the entire MOPAC estate including police stations, forensic labs, firing ranges, training grounds, horse and dog centres, offices and custody facilities. It draws on the best examples from both the public and private sectors for space efficiency and modern working. Combined with investment in new and refurbished buildings, this will ensure the Met has a modern, well-equipped and efficient estate suitable for current and future policing.