Apparently the WSJ has dibs on the news of the sale and the content is gated. Ironically, neither the Financial Times which is UK-based or the Washington post which hovers over everything Marriott with a magnifying glass doesn't have a peep on this topic - yet.
HERE IS THE ARTICLE IN LAST SUNDAYS EDITION OF THE LONDON SUNDAY TIMES (28 FEB)
THE Candy brothers, property developers to the super-rich, are poised to enter the bidding battle for the Grosvenor House hotel on London’s Park Lane.
The five-star hotel is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, the state-backed bank. It has appointed property agents at CB Richard Ellis to begin marketing the property, which overlooks Hyde Park. RBS is hoping to sell it for more than £500m.
Nick and Christian Candy, who are marketing One Hyde Park, London’s most expensive residential scheme, are thought to be working on the bid plans in partnership with an Asian financial backer.
The brothers, whose clients include Kylie Minogue and Gwyneth Paltrow, are understood to have shown interest in buying a serviced apartment block next door to Grosvenor House.
Property experts said they believe the Candy brothers want to buy the apartments and the hotel to create a giant luxury residential scheme for the über-wealthy.
Detailed financial information about the hotel, which is operated by Marriott, will be sent out during the next few weeks to potential buyers.
RBS has invested about £135m in the Grosvenor House, refurbishing guest bedrooms and adding 48 extra rooms. The Great Room can house functions for more than 2,000 guests and is regularly used for award ceremonies and corporate dinners.
The building was once one of the largest private houses in Mayfair and the site was the home of the Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family.
It was in the family’s possession until the first world war, when the government requested it for state use. After the war the Grosvenors decided it was too lavish to maintain so it was sold and turned into a hotel.
RBS took control in 2001 when it paid £1.2 billion for 12 Le Meridien hotels as part of a sale and leaseback deal that was used by Nomura, the Japanese bank, to finance its £1.9 billion acquisition of Le Meridien from Compass.
RBS is now selling the hotel to cash in on rising property values, as it seeks to unwind large portions of its property portfolio.
"This is a "Grand Dame" of a hotel! Hope it all works out!"
Agreed. This high-profile property has seen a very 'colorful' decade. Telegraph.co.uk (photo shown above) states that Le Meridien had the lease, but The Royal Bank of Scotland took control in 2001. Le Meridien collapsed into receivership in 2003 and the baton passed to Marriott. According to WSJ, Marriott:
"has an operating lease of some 30 years. That means that a new buyer would not be able to operate the hotel or put in new management unless it negotiated to acquire the operating lease."
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