Canada Sells Landmark Diplomatic Building in London to India-Based Developer for $500M

The Canadian federal government has sold the iconic Macdonald House in central London to Lodha Group, one of India's largest real estate developers.

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

London—The Canadian federal government has sold the iconic Macdonald House in central London to Lodha Group, one of India’s largest real estate developers. The Mumbai-based company has acquired the approximately 130,000-square-foot property for more than 3,000 crore rupees (the equivalent of more than $500 million or C$530 million).

Located in the city’s posh Mayfair area, at 1 Grosvenor Square, one of the most prestigious addresses in the world, the seven-story building has been home to Canada’s High Commissioners to Britain for more than 50 years. The mansion was built before the Second World War, and originally served as the U. S. Embassy. Canada purchased the property in 1959 and named it after the country’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

According to The Globe and Mail, Savills Plc. brokered the sale of the building, which attracted more than 20 potential buyers.

“This is not a typical property. It’s a large redevelopment opportunity in one of the best garden squares, in one of the best locations, in probably the most sought after city on the planet. They don’t come along very often,” Simon Stone, director of national development at Savills Plc., told the newspaper.

The transaction marks Lodha’s first investment outside India. The company now plans to redevelop the structure into luxury condominiums.

“The acquisition of this marquee asset overlooking London’s most renowned garden square, in the heart of Mayfair, and in close proximity to Bond Street and Mount Street is a great opportunity for our company,” says Abhishek Lodha, managing Director of Lodha Group.

In February, the Canadian government announced its intention to sell the Macdonald House and consolidate its diplomatic activity in Britain at the historic Canada House in London’s Trafalgar Square.

“There was exceptional interest from international parties for the property on Grosvenor Square,” High Commissioner Gordon Campbell says. “We are looking forward to the move to Canada House on Trafalgar Square, Canada’s traditional home in the United Kingdom, in the next year. We thank Lodha Group for their keen interest and welcome this new phase in the project.”

The Canadian government followed in the footsteps of its American counterpart, who sold the U.S. embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square in 2008.

According to Diplomat Magazine, 20 embassies or diplomacy-related buildings in London have been sold in the past six months or are being considered for sale, as a result of the rising prices of prime residential real estate in the city’s West End.