UK police might sell New Scotland Yard headquarters

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 30, 2012 12:44 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - London's cash-strapped police force may sell its New Scotland Yard headquarters as part of plans to save 500 million pounds ($800 million).

The 1960s-era complex in the Victoria district could fetch between 150-200 million pounds, property agents said. The Metropolitan Police bought the block from Land Securities in 2008 for 122 million pounds.

The possible sale is part of a wider cost-cutting drive to shrink the force's 900,000 square meters estate by one third by 2016, the Met said in an e-mailed statement.

"We won't keep older buildings any longer than we need to...Our plans relate to all areas of the estate, including all HQ buildings and potentially moving New Scotland Yard from its current location," a spokeswoman said, adding that no final decision had been made.

The 20-storey block, surrounded by concrete blast barriers and famous for its revolving sign, will need 50 million pounds of maintenance over the next few years, the police said.

Should the sale go ahead, it may move its headquarters to a smaller building in the Westminster district.

The Victoria neighborhood has been targeted by redevelopers including Land Securities, which is building prime offices, shops and over 200 homes in the district.

Last week, the government sold Admiralty Arch, a gateway between The Mall and Trafalgar Square in London, for 60 million pounds to Spanish investor Rafael Serrano as part of a cost-cutting drive.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by David Cowell)