London’s Old War Office was built in 1906 at a cost of £1.2 million and has been sold for more that £350,000 million, on a 250-year lease, to the Hinduja Group and OHL Developments, whose main shareholder is Grupo Villar Mir, one of the largest Spanish Industrial Groups. It is estimated that the sale will save the Ministry of Defence roughly £8-10 million per year in running costs.
The Grade II listed building contains approximately 1,100 rooms across 7 floors and linked by more than 2 miles of corridors. The building is of tremendous international importance, was bombed 8 times during the Blitz, and has housed secretaries of state including Lord Kitchener and Winston Churchill.
Designs for the hotel have been drawn up by EPR Architects alongside structural engineer Elliot Wood and service engineer Aecom with Gardiner & Theobold acting as cost consultants.
The city of London is not characterised by any specific architectural style and has accumulated its style of buildings over a long period of time, but it is hoped that new plans for the building should respect its history and, indeed, planning was conditional on offering the public access to historically significant parts of the building at least 14 days per year.
Residential apartments for the rich by 2018
It has been estimated that once the conversion work is completed the building will be worth over a £1 billion; 55% of the building will be turned into a 5-star luxury hotel whilst the remaining 45% will be residential apartments, which will undoubtedly create the most prestigious residential address in London – as well as excellent security being only a few hundred metres away from the country’s most protected address – 10 Downing Street.
Ever wondered who gave the Architect of the Old War Office, his first lucky break?
It was Earl Cadogan, who asked William Young to design Chelsea House, 1874 (Cadogan Place, London).
The Old War Office was designed William Young, who was born in Paisley and trained in Glasgow, articled to James Lamb. In the early 1860’s he worked in Liverpool and Manchester eventually settling in London. It was with the help of Lord Elcho that he was given the commission for the then new War Office but it was completed by his son Clyde Young.
What is architecturally spectacular about the War Office is that it was built as one single building and was designed with the purpose of enshrouding secrecy.