By Sarah Townsend
Business Trading Company’s UK arm to convert 1881 court house into luxury hotel
Qatar-backed Business Trading Company (BTC) UK has bought a famous London court house to convert into a £125m ($156 million) luxury hotel.
The UK arm of Doha-based BTC snapped up Bow Street Magistrate’s Court for an undisclosed sum from Austrian hoteliers, Rudolf and Christian Ploberger, according to reports in British media.
The Grade II-listed, 90,000 sq ft building, constructed in 1881, was once the home of the Bow Street Runners, London’s first professional police force.
Both Oscar Wilde and infamous East End gangsters the Kray Brothers were tried at the court, before it ceased legal operations in 2006 and was later granted planning permission to be turned into a 100 bedroom hotel, with some rooms in the old cells.
Suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, Lord Jeffrey Archer, and radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri were also tried at Bow Street Magistrate’s Court when it was operational.
Mehdi Ghalaie, managing director of BTC UK, was quoted as telling UK media that said the company would work with conservation trust English Heritage, Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police to build a “world class boutique hotel that befits the history of this landmark building”.
BTC UK was founded in 2015, entering the UK market through its acquisition of Soho Coffee Company in 2015, followed by Apostrophe cafés and Euphorium Bakery in 2016.