London police put their Scotland Yard HQ up for sale
LONDON, Sept 2
LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - London's cash-strapped police force put its New Scotland Yard headquarters up for sale on Tuesday with a 250 million pound ($415 million) guide price, as part of plans to re-invest in front-line policing and cut costs.
The 1960s-era complex, home to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) since 1967, is known for its revolving triangular name sign which has served as a backdrop to thousands of TV crime reports over the years.
It had kept the name of Scotland Yard, the original headquarters of the London police force near the Houses of Parliament after it was founded in 1829.
The MPS plans to move its head office to a smaller former police station which has been empty for the last three years. The Curtis Green site on Victoria Embankment along the River Thames will become the force's head office in 2016 and will be known simply as Scotland Yard.
The relocation is designed to help the MPS save six million pounds a year in running costs and avoid the 50-million-pound expense needed to refurbish the current head office, it said.
Curtis Green will have desk space for 1,000 officers, less than half the number in the current building, using mobile technology to enable officers to work more flexibly. The revolving triangle will be moved to the new site.
"Londoners have backed our drive to put bobbies before buildings," London Mayor Boris Johnson said. "By turning dilapidated and under-used buildings into high-tech kit we are giving the Met the tools they need."
Originally bought from Land Securities in 2008 for 123.5 million pounds ($205 million), the building's guide price of 250 million pounds is well above initial estimates of 150 to 200 million pounds, thanks to soaring London property prices.
Property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle are handling the sale.
In 2012, the MPS announced it was aiming to reduce the force's 900,000-square-metre (9.7 million square feet) estate by a third by 2016 as part of Home Office efforts to cut spending.
The force completed the sale of over 30 properties in the last financial year, raising over 125 million pounds, and hopes to raise another 125 million this year with the sale of smaller sites, it said.
Johnson, who is seen as a potential successor to Prime Minister David Cameron, was dealt a political blow on Tuesday when his plan to build a major new airport to the east of London was rejected by a government-appointed commission. (Reporting by Hannah Murphy; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)