BLP swoops to seal Admiralty Arch hotel switch after DLA gets first dibs

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) was hired to get the £60m sale of London’s iconic Admiralty Arch building over the line after DLA Piper had been instructed on the early stages of the deal.

Admiralty arch

Spanish investor Rafael Serrano, through his company Prime Investors Capital, paid the British Government £60m for a 99-year leasehold of Admiralty Arch, a grade 1-listed building which acts as a gateway between The Mall and Trafalgar Square and was until recently used by the Cabinet Office.

Serrano wants to turn the building into a luxury hotel, but still needs planning permission from Westminster City Council. The sale is just one of many property disposals expected from the Government as part of a bid to cut costs.

BLP, led by commercial real estate partner David Battiscombe, was brought in to advise the buyer mid-way through the deal after DLA Piper had been instructed at the outset.

Slaughter and May real estate partner Dermot Rice led the team advising the sellers, the Cabinet Office.

Background to this deal:

BLP was invited to help close the Admiralty Arch deal as a result of its existing relationship with Serrano. BLP previously acted for him over a year ago on the development of the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge, when Serrano instructed partner Andrew Little. The firm also has a relationship with Savills, which acted as agent on the Admiralty Arch sale.

“I think the client wanted me to apply my experience in hotels and prime residential,” Battiscombe commented. “It’s the kind of deal that’s right in our sweet spot. To deliver it, subject to planning, required multi-disciplinary skills – financing, planning, licensing – in the context of hotels and prime residential, which we see as a strategically important area.”