Hospitality group Whitbread has put its flagship Hub by Premier Inn hotel in King's Cross, London, up for sale.
The 389-bedroom hotel is under construction and the intention is to sell the freehold of the property as a forward-funding opportunity, according to Property Week. The hotel is due to be completed next summer.
Any potential buyer is expected to pay an initial sum of £46.5m for the King's Cross site, with the rest of the money paid over the next year to fund the development. Contractor McAleer & Rushe was awarded a £30m contract to build the hotel last year and is halfway through construction.
Whitbread has appointed BNP Paribas Real Estate to find a buyer for the site. It is due to sign a 25-year lease at the nine-storey building when it completes at a rent of £3.5m a year. The company currently owns 65% of its 700-plus Premier Inn estate as freehold properties, while the remainder of the hotels are leasehold.
Designed by Axiom, the hotel will be the biggest Hub by Premier Inn hotel, of which there are five. Hub offers smaller rooms than standard Premier Inn hotels, with bedrooms from 122 sq ft, compared with the 229 sq ft of a typical Premier Inn.
A spokesperson for Whitbread told The Caterer: "We've got a national expansion programme target of 85,000 bedrooms to reach by 2020. That involves quite a significant investment programme to grow the business.
"Acquiring commercial property, particularly in London, can be expensive, so we're looking at the best use of our investment capital to grow the business. We decided to sell the investment value of this site ahead of the scheme actually coming forward. £80m is a lot of money, so if Whitbread Premier Inn were to receive that they could deploy it across other parts of the business."
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