Singapore-based company the Ascott is to open a block of 108 serviced apartments in Islington, north London, under its Citadines brand after acquiring a development site for £52m.
Citadines Islington London will open in 2018 following the acquisition of the site from Sager House (Almeida), through Ascott's £420m serviced residence global fund with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
Located on the site of the former Royal Mail's North London mail centre, off Upper Street, Islington Square will offer 263 new homes and 170,000 sq ft of retail and leisure facilities. It has been described as a new Covent Garden-style destination for London.
Lee Chee Koon, chief executive of Ascott, said the new fund with QIA will support the company's growth as it aims to increase its number of serviced apartments from 28,000 to 80,000 globally by 2020. The company also has 17,000 apartments under development.
"The addition of Citadines Islington London will strengthen Ascott's position as one of the largest international serviced residence operators in Europe, with assets of over S$1.5 billion (£1.03b)," he said. "Our portfolio in the region will increase to more than 5,300 units in 45 properties across France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Georgia and Spain. We aim to double our portfolio in Europe to 10,000 units by 2020."
Citadines Islington London will be located on the upper floors of the six-storey Edwardian former Royal Mail sorting office. Originally designed by architect Jasper Wager, the property will be transformed to offer a mix of classic rooms, studio suites and one-bedroom apartments.
Ascott, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, operates three brands - Ascott, Citadines and Somerset. In London it already operates six serviced residences - Ascott Mayfair, Citadines Prestige Trafalgar Square, Citadines Prestige Holborn-Covent Garden, Citadines Prestige South Kensington, Citadines Barbican and St Marks.
In 2012 Ascottt acquired the 230-bedroom Cavenidsh hotel in Jermyn Street, Mayfair, which at the time it said it would be transformed into serviced residences under the name Scott St James London. However, the company recently told The Caterer that there were no plans in the near future for the rebranding to take place.
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