Qatar wins green light for London Shell Centre

Project site on River Thames will include almost 900 homes and eight office blocks

An artist's impression of the Shell Centre development.

An artist's impression of the Shell Centre development.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has secured local government approval to build almost 900 homes and eight office blocks at the site of Royal Dutch Shell’s London headquarters.

Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment, the property unit of the gas-rich Gulf state’s wealth fund, has been given the nod for the project by the UK capital’s Lambeth Borough Council. It will be built alongside Canary Wharf Group, which owns the financial district of the same name.

The offices part development will be about 76,000 sqm with the towers ranging from five to 37 storeys at the site, which is located on the banks of the River Thames.

“The development would give rise to not only additional jobs in the borough but would also contribute towards strategic objectives for London in its promotion as a world city,” read a council document recommending planning permission for the project.

Qatar has invested heavily in London’s real estate market over the last five years.

The Gulf state is also funding luxury properties at the city’s Chelsea Barracks site as part of a project that will include 450 residences and affordable homes. However, that project has faced numerous setbacks, with Prince Charles at one point intervening to request that its modernist design be revised. Qatari Diar, which is behind Chelsea Barracks, still insists that it will go ahead.

Qatar owns a string of other property assets in London, including 80 percent of Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, Harrods and the US embassy.

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