Middle Eastern Property Investors Can Now Own a Piece of British History as Homes at the Former Old War Office Come to Market

Press release
Published June 21st, 2021 - 04:54 GMT
Middle Eastern Property Investors Can Now Own a Piece of British History as Homes at the Former Old War Office Come to Market
St James’s Park views from one of the turrets of The OWO.
Closed to the public for decades, The OWO Residences by Raffles in Whitehall have now launched

This is a pivotal moment in the history of one of London’s most iconic buildings as sales of The OWO Residences by Raffles, Europe’s first Raffles branded residences, are launched. Offering a rare opportunity to purchase a piece of Winston Churchill’s legacy, 85 homes are available in the impressive Grade II* listed former Old War Office building, which has been closed to the public for over a century. Having undergone a monumental and painstaking transformation over the last five years, the London landmark is set to complete in 2022 and will also comprise the capital’s first Raffles hotel with 125-rooms and suites, a collection of nine restaurants and an immersive spa.

Situated at one of London’s most historically important and powerful addresses, the Old War Office, originally completed in 1906 and designed by British architect William Young, is steeped in history. Formerly the site of the original Palace of Whitehall, home to Henry VIII and other monarchs, the building has witnessed world shaping events whilst influential political and military leaders including Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George held office. It was John Profumo’s base when he was Secretary of State and inspired Ian Fleming to write the infamous James Bond series after working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Service. Its grand architecture has made the building a dramatic location in Bond films, and more recently The Crown drama series.

Each residence is unique and specifically tailored to suit its location in the building; duplex, lateral and penthouse residences range in size from studios to five-beds. In addition, two spectacular turret residences, elevated above the London skyline, offer a home like no other. In this unparalleled residential offering, homeowners will benefit from having all the facilities of a world-renowned hotel on their doorstep without having to compromise on the highest levels of privacy and seclusion within their home. This complex balance has been achieved thanks to the building’s majestic original architecture which lends itself perfectly to a mixed-use development of this stature.

The launch of this new Prime London development could be of particular interest to Middle Eastern property buyers, who have long had an infinity will property purchases in the UK. According to the latest data compiled by Knight Frank, investors from the Middle East are beginning to return to the UK’s property market. 16% of all sales to overseas buyers in the first three months of 2021 were to Middle Eastern buyers, up from less than 10% in the second and third quarters of last year. This is the highest proportion of Middle Eastern interest since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK. And whilst Middle Eastern investment is still some way off pre-COVID levels, activity is expected to tick up further as international travel restrictions ease.

Currently buyers from the GCC are ranked third most prominent in the UK, only surpassed by buyers from Asia (18%) and Europe (59%).

Henry Faun, Partner, Private Office Middle East at Knight Frank commented “We are excited to have the opportunity to present The OWO with our clients throughout Middle East. The OWO’s historic address and unrivalled Raffles hotel brand ensures it has been very well received by the High Net Worth Middle Eastern community looking to London for their next property investment”.

At the helm of The OWO project is the Hinduja Group, an international multi-billion turnover group founded in 1914 and passionately committed to the building since its acquisition in 2014. It has worked with a team of experts including Historic England and Museum of London Archaeology, and appointed EPR Architects to oversee the intricate redevelopment. The hotel interiors are being designed by New York-based designer Thierry Despont.

Gopichand P Hinduja, Co-Chairman, Hinduja Group: "Launching sales of these extraordinary residences is a significant milestone for us as a family and for the project team at The OWO - it’s one step closer to opening the storied building to the public for the first time where branded residences will sit alongside a flagship Raffles hotel.”

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO at Accor: “We are proud to be working alongside the Hinduja Group to deliver this most exceptional new Raffles destination in London. It is a remarkable building that lends itself perfectly to a masterpiece such as The OWO. Raffles is a pioneering brand with British roots, named after the British statesman and founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, so it is very fitting that Raffles is coming home to the UK.”

The OWO directly faces Horse Guards and is adjacent to the stunning 57-acres of St. James’s Park. Residents, hotel guests and visitors will be a short stroll from Buckingham Palace, The National Gallery, The Tate and The Royal Academy, as well as the sought-after shopping streets of Regents Street, Bond Street and Jermyn Street.

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