x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Olympic Village to become homes after sale to Qatari sovereign fund

London's Olympic Village has been sold for close to $1 billion to a joint venture involving Qatar's sovereign wealth fund and a British developer.

LONDON // London's Olympic Village has been sold for close to $1 billion to a joint venture involving Qatar's sovereign wealth fund and a British developer.

The $903 million deal was sealed this week between the British developer Delancey and Qatari Diar, which will acquire the Olympic Village site and its long-term management, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said.

The deal would also include arrangements to provide a future profit-share for the public sector.

"This is a long-term project for us - we are looking to retain the neighbourhood and create a place where people will want to live, work and play for years to come," Delancey's chief executive, Jamie Ritblat, said.

Delancey and Qatari Diar will buy 1,439 homes that will become private housing, plus six adjacent future development plots with the potential for a further 2,000 new homes.

The majority of the homes would be rented out instead of being sold by its new owners, creating a UK private sector residential fund of more than 1,000 homes to be owned and directly managed as an investment, the ODA said.

Qatari Diar is the property arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.

Delancey and Qatari Diar beat a rival bid from Hutchison Whampoa, which is Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's flagship ports-to-telecommunications conglo-merate.

They also beat a £1 billion (Dh5.97bn) proposal from the Wellcome Trust to take over all the 2.5-kilometre-square Olympic park.

The majority of the 1,439 private homes in the Village are to be let on a rental basis, instead of being sold, with the ownership remaining with the Delancey and Qatari Diar joint venture.

Jeremy Hunt, the UK Olympics and sports minister, said: "This is a fantastic deal that will give taxpayers a great return and shows how we are securing a legacy from London's Games."

Mohammed bin Ali Al Hedfa, group chief executive of Qatari Diar said: "Our commitment to the UK market and to building long-term relationships with our partners and the wider community is of paramount importance to us to ensure that we leave a positive cultural, environmental and sustainable footprint."

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