China has a plan to move its embassy to the former home of the Royal Mint following its purchase of the site from Delancey, a developer, and LRC Group, a commercial real estate company.
The said decision to move to the City from Marylebone for an undisclosed price will enable China to expand their headquarters in the United Kingdom after the previous owners obtained permission in 2010 to build about 50 percent additional net office space as compared to the site that it currently holds.
In a statement that was released last Friday, the managing director at Delancey, Paul Goswell, said: “the scale of the buildings, coupled with the unparalleled history and large area of amenity and public realm, make it one of a kind in the City of London and undeniably perfect for the needs of a prestigious embassy.”
The news arrives a few months after the American embassy made a move that is worth $1.2bn (£880m) to Nine Elms, which attracted criticism from Donald Trump, the US President who branded the new location as “lousy”.
Even though China did not reveal how much they were paying for the new embassy, which is located near the Tower of London, the freehold of the site was sold back by UK Crown Estate for £51m in 2010.
Paul Nicholls, the senior director of CBRE, the UK development at property consultancy which advised the government of China on the move, said that the embassy had been both “patient and considered” in searching for a place of “significant global strategic importance.”
On the site, coin production dates back to 1810, and one of the first jobs of Royal Mint Court was to strike medals for the troops at the Battle of Waterloo.
The ambassador of China stated: “Our current premises in Portland Place has gone through many renovations in order to meet the growing needs of our diplomatic mission. However, the new era is calling for new premises consistent with China’s current role and influence in the world.”