Admiralty Arch - one of London's most iconic buildings - is to be transformed into a luxury hotel after being bought by Prime Investors Capital (PIC) for £60m on a 99-year lease.
It will be the second hotel in the capital for PIC, which earlier this year opened the 85-bedroom Bulagri hotel in Knightsbridge. PIC was founded by Spanish businessman Rafael Serrano in 2009 and specialises in financial advice to wealthy clients.
The sale of the Sir Aston Webb-designed landmark Grade I building, which stands on the south west corner of Trafalgar Square and provide an entrance to the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace, is part of the government initiative to offload underused official buildings and boost the nation's coffers.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said that the property was costing the government £900,000 a year to run, despite not being used. "Rather than let it fall into disrepair, we are taking action," he explained.
"British specialists will work closely with English Heritage and Westminster Council to bring the Arch back to life."
Serrano said that he intends Admiralty Arch will by restored and adapted for a new use that will sustain its value for future generations.
"We will deliver the very finest hotel for London, with an unrivalled history and location, while providing maximum security measures to protect surrounding government building and areas of state importance."
It is not yet known who will operate Admiralty Arch - originally built by King Edward VII as a memorial to his mother, Queen Victoria - as a hotel. The Bulgari is managed, on behalf of PIC by Marriott.