The total value of embassies in prime central London is worth £4 billion, according to a new study.
The buildings which house London’s most impressive and centrally-located embassies are collectively worth £4,000,000,000, according to research by the property consultancy Lichfields. Assuming that each of the buildings is owned freehold and has residential use, the company has produced a list of seven which sit in the ‘£100,000,000 plus club’. These include the Japanese embassy on Piccadilly, Australia House on the Strand, the Russian Embassy on Kensington Palace Gardens, the Canadian Embassy on Trafalgar Square, the Saudi Arabian Embassy on Charles Street, the Netherlands Embassy on Hyde Park Gate and the German Embassy on Belgrave Square.
According to the research, which is published in Spears magazine, the most expensive of all the embassies in London is the United States’ new building–which will have a moat surrounding it when finished–in Nine Elms, Battersea. The current site on Grosvenor Square was sold for £500 million to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. On the other end of the scale is North Korea’s embassy in Gunnersbury, west London, which has been valued at £750,000.
Russia rents its embassy from the UK and, while it’s located one of Britain’s most expensive roads, Kensington Palace Gardens, it only pays £1 per year in rent thanks to a 1991 agreement. In turn, the UK pays one rouble per year for our embassy in Moscow.
‘From the grandest embassy in Grosvenor Square to the grottiest in Gunnersbury, we have peeked behind their shutters, blinds and net curtains to work out what London’s embassies are worth,’ explains Josh Spero of Spear’s. ‘Thanks to this research, we’ve shed some light on these valuable (but tax-exempt) buildings and hope to start a debate about both the role of the embassy in the 21st century and the use of prime property more generally.’