Plans to open a fourth Four Seasons hotel in the UK have been shelved following the sale of a prime development site in the City of London to a Singapore-based property company, for £97m.
Planning permission was granted in January 2011 to Heron International to build a 43-storey tower on Bishopsgate, close to Liverpool Street Station, incorporating the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences London at Heron Plaza with 190 suites and 120 branded residences.
However, Heron International has now sold the prime 3,200 sq m site to the UOL Group, which now intends to develop a 190-bedroom hotel under its luxury Pan Pacific brand, alongside 109 residential apartments and retail outlets within the proposed Heron Plaza tower.
Pan Pacific is one of two hotel brands owned by UOL, in conjunction with its wholly-owned hotel subsidiary Pan Pacific Hotels Group (PPHG). The 18 Pan Pacific hotels in Asia and North America are regarded as five-star properties, while the 12 Park Royal branded hotels in Asia and Australia are in the four-star category.
Having owned the Heron Plaza site for 15 years, Gerald Ronson, chief executive of Heron International, said that his company was capitalising on the "significant international interest" in acquiring prime London assets.
"UOL is a very highly regarded experienced real estate investor and developer and I am confident that they will be very happy with this, their first investment in Europe," he explained.
Gwee Lian Kheng, group chief executive of UOL Group, added: "We are delighted to have acquired this prime site in London's central financial district as part of our overseas strategic expansion. We are appreciative of Heron's management and all the professional consultants involved for their responsiveness and efforts to facilitate the entire acquisition process. We look forward to establishing good rapport with the local community as we embark on the development of this project."
Heron International was advised by CBRE, Savills and Taylor Wessing. UOL Group was advised by Berwin Leighton Paisner.