The group is eyeing iconic global locations and trophy assets for these select developments with no constraints on budgets following its 1.2 billion-pound maiden project in London.
To begin with, the Anglo-Indian transnational group has partnered with international luxury hospitality major Raffles Hotels & Resorts to operate and manage branded residences and a luxury flagship hotel at global historical landmark and Winston Churchill’s iconic Old War Office (OWO) building in the UK’s capital.
“We have spent over 1.2 billion pounds on this marquee project. It will be a very rewarding project besides creating the legacy. We are looking at developing more projects of this stature across the world,” Gopichand Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group, told ET in an exclusive interaction. “With this project, we are now committed to historic, unique and special developments globally.”
According to him, this project is being redeveloped through Hinduja’s global real estate arm Westminster Development Services Ltd (WDS), which will be responsible for more such developments the world over.
The old war office building has more than 1,000 rooms and two-and-a-half miles of corridors and had escaped largely unscathed even after being bombed eight times during World War II was bought off by the Hinduja Group for over 350 million pounds in 2014.
Following the actual handover in 2016, the Indian multi-billion turnover group has worked with a team of experts including Historic England and Museum of London Archaeology, and have appointed EPR Architects to oversee the intricate redevelopment project. The hotel interiors are being designed by New York-based designer Thierry Despont and the entire project is slated to be completed in 2022.
Hindujas, counted amongst the UK’s richest billionaires, have so far converted two palaces including this property and Carlton House Terrace in the heart of London.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts, a subsidiary of French multinational hospitality company Accor S. A., will be operating the 125 room-and-suite flagship hotel at the project to be known as The OWO as well as 85 branded residences.
“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,” said Sebastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor.
On completion, The OWO will comprise private residences including two penthouses, and this will be the first Raffles-branded residences in the UK and Europe. These private residences will range from a studio to five beds and will be fully serviced by Raffles.
The project will be home to the first Raffles hotel in London–Raffles London at The OWO. In addition to four Raffles-managed dining venues, The OWO will include five independently operated restaurants and bars.
According to Hinduja, the project is already witnessing good enquiries from clientele all over the world, especially the UK, Europe, Russia and China.
“Through this marquee project, we are giving a chance to Indians to own a piece of this rare heritage,” he said.
The iconic building is in Whitehall, the heart of historic, prime central London opposite Horse Guards and within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, The National Gallery, The Tate, The Royal Academy, St James’s Park, Embankment and South Bank.
The Grade II listed Old War Office building was formerly the site of the original Palace of Whitehall – home to monarchs between 1530 and 1698.
The architectural masterpiece has witnessed world-shaping events whilst influential political and military leaders including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Lord Kitchener held office.
It was also John Profumo’s base when he was Secretary of State for War and inspired Ian Fleming to write the Bond series after working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division. The building has also been used as a film location in five Bond films.
In India, the group’s realty developments will be handled through Hinduja Realty Ventures (HRVL), the flagship property development arm of the Hinduja Group. This entity aims to develop the property business in India by prudently unlocking the value of the prime land bank in excess of 2,500 acres across major cities in India, owned by group entities through integrated development.