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Former ‘Vote Leave’ Brexit HQ to be transformed into London flats

An Abu Dhabi backed property group has bought Westminster Tower - the building which formerly housed Brexit's Vote Leave headquarters - for £41m with plans to turn the office block into a new residential development. 
An Abu Dhabi backed property group has bought Westminster Tower - the building which formerly housed Brexit's Vote Leave headquarters - for £41m with plans to turn the office block into a new residential development.

An Abu Dhabi backed property group has bought the building which formerly housed Brexit’s Vote Leave campaign for £41m, with plans to turn the office block into a new residential development.

Westminster Tower is one of London Square’s first major acquisitions since it was taken over by the leading real estate manager in the Middle East, Aldar Properties last November. 

Aldar, which has a market cap of £10bn, paid £230m for the London based property developer, as it looked to get a “meaningful foothold” on the UK market.

On Monday, the firm said it would pay just shy of £41m to take the office block off commercial property investment firm CLS Holdings hands.

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CLS said the price was in-line with its 31 December 2023 valuation and completion is expected in the second quarter of this year.

Fredrik Widlund, chief executive officer of CLS, said: “We remain focused on having the highest quality, sustainable, modern offices in our locations.

“Westminster Tower was no longer suitable for the modern office tenants we look to service, but is a prime opportunity for residential conversion, and I wish London Square all the success with the conversion.”

He added: “The disposal is in line with our strategy to reduce leverage and we will continue to pursue potential disposals in the months ahead.”

Back in July, the firm announced it would sell the tower block on Albert Embankment to Australian developer Third.i but the deal fell through.

CLS bought the 13 storey tower back in 1987, describing it as one of the “older” properties in its portfolio.

The building was the headquarters of the Vote Leave campaign which was fronted by Micheal Gove and former PM Boris Johnson.

It comes as a growing number of office blocks are no longer suitable for use as they do not meet carbon neutral targets.

Some 94 per cent of stock set to return to the capital’s office market over the next three years has an EPC lower than C, and is therefore categorised as energy inefficient.

Under government regulations, office buildings must have an EPC rating of at least E before they can be granted a new lease or a lease renewal. 

Employers are also downsizing in response to hybrid working practices which have remained following the pandemic.

London Square, best known for the Nine Elms development near Battersea Power Station, will transform the building into a residential block.

The firm said:”The acquisition of Westminster Tower is an outstanding addition to our growing portfolio of sites, reflecting our ambition to extend the presence of London Square in prime central London.

“It stands next to the Thames, with views right across to the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben and other historic landmarks and will offer a collection of unrivalled residences in the heart of the capital.”