Qatari Diar shortlisted for London Olympic Village bid

Fund bid with British property developer Delancey to own and manage part of Olympic project
London is poised to host the 2010 Olympic Games
By Shane McGinley
Wed 06 Apr 2011 05:47 PM

Qatari Diar, the property arm of the Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, is among three bidders shortlisted to own and manage the Olympic Village in London, it emerged Wednesday.

The state-owned firm, which submitted a joint bid with British property developer Delancey, was shortlisted from a group of by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the agency said.

The two rival bids were from Hutchison Whampoa Limited and the Wellcome Trust.

“The number and quality of consortia bidding to take over the Olympic Village proves the extraordinary level of interest in London 2012’s legacy,” said Olympics minister Hugh Robertson in an emailed statement.

Qatari Diar submitted a bid to buy up around half of the 2,800 homes at the village, together with an adjacent plot of land with the potential for further 2,000 – 2,500 new homes.

About 1,300 of the new homes have been bought by Triathlon Homes for £270m (about $419m) and are designated to become affordable housing.

The ODA owns the remaining 1,439 homes which will become private housing, plus six future development plots in the Village site that could house a further 2,000 houses. It expects to earn around £500m ($775m) from the deal.

The successful bid will be announced in the summer, and will require government approval

Construction work on the Olympic Village began in June 2008. The first of 11 residential plots were completed in late March and the Village is scheduled for completion in early 2012.

If its bid is successful, the Village would become the latest asset in Qatar's London property portfolio. The gas-rich Gulf state already own assets such as London Bridge Tower, Chelsea Barracks and the US embassy building in Grosvenor Square.

On Monday, Qatari Diar was also named as the anchor investor in a $700m retail development in downtown Washington, the first major investment by the Gulf state in US real estate.

Construction has started on the landmark CityCenterDC, which is believed to be the largest downtown development currently underway in any US city.

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