Earls Court Developer Buys Empress State Building

31 storey tower rented to police but could become flats in future


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Capco, the developer behind the controversial plans to redevelop the Earls Court area, has bought the 31 storey Empress State Building next to Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

The developer previously owned 50% of the imposing building, but has now acquired the remaining 50% from Land Securities Group for £117 million.

This building is in the centre of the area Capco is hoping to redevelop, between the exhibition centre and West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates, but is not part of the current masterplan for the development as it is rented out to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, which is paying an annual rent of £14.9 million.

However, the developer says that it may be suitable for converting to flats when this lease comes to an end in June 2019.

Capco - Capital & Counties Properties - says: " The Empress State Building is a 451,000 sq ft, 31 storey, office building located adjacent to the Earls Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area.

" In the medium term, opportunities to extend or review the existing lease will be considered or alternatively the property may be suitable for a residential conversion in line with the plans for the Earls Court Masterplan."

Gary Yardley, Investment Director of Capco, says: "The Empress State Building provides an attractive income stream until 2019 whilst offering a number of options to create further value over the medium-term as the area benefits from the implementation of the Earls Court Masterplan."

The Empress State was built in 1961 and was originally designed to be a hotel but has since been used as offices by the Admiralty, GCHQ and Transport for London. It is now used by police divisions such as Firearms Licensing who say it is a secure site which is not open to the public.

The building was renovated in 2003 to add three extra floors, including a private revolving bar called Orbit.


June 7, 2013