Indian billionaire buys Great Scotland Yard luxury project

Police officers once used Great Scotland Yard to investigate Jack the Ripper. Soon, the famed original headquarters of the Metropolitan Police will be serving high-end cocktails, not warrants.

According to multiple sources, Indian billionaire Yusuffali Kader, who heads Abu-Dhabi based Lulu Group International, has acquired London's Great Scotland Yard, which is currently in the process of being converted into a luxury hotel by Galliard Group, for £110 million or around $171 million.

Advanced talks between Lulu and Galliard began in April.

Kader will reportedly take ownership of the project once Galliard has finished building the hotel. Galliard bought the 125-year lease for the Edwardian, grade II-listed building in 2013 and construction of the site is about one-third complete.

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The 92,000-square-foot hotel will be called The Great Scotland Yard Hotel upon opening, which is slated for the first quarter of 2017. Lulu has reportedly signed a deal with Germany's Steigenberger Hotel Group to manage the property.

According to The Telegraph, Galliard was originally in talks to sell the building to the Malmaison Hotel Group. Those prospects, however, ended after KSL Capital Partners sold Malmaison to Singaporean property group Frasers Hospitality for $576 million last month.

According to its website, Lulu Group International today is a "highly diversified entity with operations spanning a vast geographical landscape. Spearheaded by the retail division, the group has interests in imports and exports, trading, shipping, IT, travel & tourism and education."

Its primary play is in hypermarkets, supermarkets and grocery outlets in the Middle East, India and parts of South East Asia.

Now, it's becoming more interested in the hospitality sector, particularly in gateway markets with high barriers of entry, such as London. "London undoubtedly is one of the most happening locations in the world especially from the tourism point of view and we have been actively evaluating investment opportunities that both grow our footprint and contribute to the further development of London," Kader told Reuters.

Twenty14 Holdings is the newly launched hospitality arm of LuLu, focusing on acquisition and management of assets around the globe.

"The future growth markets for us in the hospitality sector includes Britain, Middle East, India and South East Asia," a Lulu Group spokesman told The National. "Since we are now firmly established in the retail sector, we want to diversify into the hospitality sector as these two are complementary."

Lulu is already invested in hotels. It owns four in India and one in Muscat.
 

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