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Bow Street Magistrates' Court to be turned into luxury hotel


Travers Smith LLP has advised the UK arm of Qatari investment firm BTC on its purchase of the former Bow Street Magistrates' Court and Police Station site in Covent Garden with planning consent for a 100-bedroom luxury boutique hotel.

BTC, which also owns the Soho Coffee Company and Apostrophe chain of cafés, has acquired the landmark site from Austrian hoteliers Rudolf and Christian Ploberger and will construct a hotel together with police museum with a gross development value in the region of £125m.

The former London court house is a Grade-II-listed building, renowned for holding high-profile trials featuring Oscar Wilde, Lord Archer and the Kray twins prior to ceasing legal operations in 2006 and is located in a prime location opposite The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

BTC will be engaging with English Heritage, Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police to preserve the building's illustrious legal heritage and history and ensure that the traditions and spirit of Bow Street are preserved.

The transaction marks BTC's first hotel acquisition in the UK and follows Soho Coffee's recent acquisition of part of the Euphorium Bakeries business from Tesco, a transaction on which Travers Smith also advised.

Paul Kenny, partner in the real estate team at Travers Smith, said:

"This was a very exciting project to be involved in, particularly with the unique nature and history of the asset and its prime location in Covent Garden.  It was also a pleasure to be able to assist BTC on its first UK hotel acquisition.   This transaction is testament to our expertise in the leisure sector and strength in depth across a range of disciplines and we are very much looking forward to working with BTC with the ongoing development phase of the project and beyond."

Mehdi Ghalaie, Managing Director of BTC UK said:

"We are extremely pleased with the level of service we received from all members of the Travers Smith team who assisted BTC on this deal and this has been a consistent theme since our initial engagement on the Euphorium transaction. We are looking forward to working further with the Travers Smith team to take the BTC project forward and also in relation to our future ventures in the market."

The Travers Smith team was led by partners Paul Kenny (real estate) and Neal Watson (Head of Corporate Finance) with support from associates Vicky Tipper (real estate), Lucy Stephenson (corporate), Romola Parish (planning), AJ Venter (corporate) and Senior Counsel Andrew Ross (real estate).

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