Plans to turn the 100-year-old Admiralty Arch into a luxury hotel have been approved by Westminster Council. The Grade I listed building, designed by Aston Webb, has been home to government offices for much of its life, but was put on the market in 2011 as part of austerity measures.
The landmark structure at the foot of the Mall will be developed by Prime Investors Capital into a five-star hotel, including royal and presidential apartments and 100 bedrooms. (We wonder if they'll keep the grace-and-favour suite where John Prescott reportedly got better acquainted with his secretary.) A private members' club, restaurant, ballroom and spa are also planned.
The 99 year lease comes at a cost of £60 million. The developer will also pay £600,000 to the council for social housing (substantially less than the £1 million expected by Westminster policy) plus £100,000 for public art.
Speaking of which, we hope the developers leave in place the famous nose of Admiralty Arch, a favourite 'secret London' curiosity imbued with any number of legends.