Middle Eastern money marks the spot at Vauxhall Cross

6 Fenruary 2016 – by Alexander Peace

An investment group backed by one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families has bought a site for a new residential skyscraper close to the Vauxhall headquarters of MI6.

Vauxhall Cross

Dubai-registered Rassmal Investments, which is backed by the Al Shawaf family, has exchanged contracts to buy Vauxhall Cross, SW8, through Guernsey-listed vehicle VCI Property Holding.

The one-acre island site is being sold by Wendover Investments, which hired Knight Frank to find a buyer for the site in 2014, seeking bids in excess of £65m. Offers for similarly priced sites in Vauxhall have been well above asking, at as much as £100m.

The Al Shawaf family’s existing London investments include Park Crescent West, W1, where it is part of a consortium funding the £500m redevelopment of a John Nash-designed crescent into 73 luxury flats.

Plans for Vauxhall Cross include 291 flats in two towers of 38 and 29 storeys, as well as a 180-bedroom hotel and 40,000 sq ft of commercial and retail space.

The 627,057 sq ft Squire and Partners-designed scheme could have a potential gross development value of £425m.

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However, plans could be revised to include adjoining land owned by Transport for London, which has previously expressed an interest in working with the buyer of the site on a joined-up scheme.

Construction could start as early as 2017 if the new owner decides to implement the consented development.

A deal to sell the site to data centre developer Re:Gen World for more than £100m collapsed last year.

The Rassmal deal comes despite a slowdown in the residential market in the Vauxhall and Nine Elms area, which has witnessed a boom in luxury flats; 20,000 are under construction.

However, it will be a welcome sign for developer St Modwen, which this week confirmed it was considering selling the nearby New Covent Garden market site.

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