The long anticipated sale of the Old War Office is to go ahead, as the Ministry of Defence continues to make savings by consolidating its office portfolio. But will the imposing Whitehall building remain as office space?
Plans to sell the building were first revealed last year, when it was suggested that Government expected it to sell for in excess of £100m. Now, marketing for the building will officially begin in Autumn this year, as commercial property agents GVA assist the Ministry of Defence with finding a buyer.
Occupying a key location at the heart of St James’s, the Old War Office contains more than 430,000 sq ft of space on a trapezium-shaped site.
As office buildings go, the Old War Office is undeniably impressive. People to have worked within its walls include Winston Churchill, Lord Kitchener and Lawrence of Arabia. It was also the site of strategy meetings during the Second World War.
Its place in history is significant, but so too is the structure of the Grade II-listed building itself which was built in Edwardian-Baroque style at the beginning of the twentieth century. 26,000 tons of Portland stone and 3,000 tons of York stone make up the imposing façade.
Its trapezium shape allowed the architects to maximise the space within the building, which stood on a plot of land closely surrounded by other buildings.
Any final decision on the future of the building is yet to be decided, as Westminster City Council and English Heritage work together to set out a Planning and Conservation framework which will guide and regulate any development work.
However, with the average two-bedroom property in St James’s selling for just under £2.5m*, the large building is likely to be popular with residential property developers.
If it is converted to residential space, it will become the latest – and possibly largest – in a long line of West End office buildings being converted into residential space.
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