Central Group and a partner from Hong Kong have reached a deal with the British government to buy the existing site of the British embassy in Bangkok for THB18.6 billion, reports the BBC. Central Group is teaming with Hongkong Land, a member of the Jardine Matheson Group, for the purchase.
The acquisition is now the biggest property deal in Thailand’s history and required Central Group’s largest ever investment in one project. Central Group will develop a mixed-use project on the site that will link to Central Embassy, according to Central Group CEO Tos Chirathivat. Central Embassy sits on a land plot that was also purchased from the British Government in 2007.
The UK government will move its Bangkok-based embassy staff to a modern tower block in 2019. That space has been leased for the next 15 years. Passport and visa services have already been moved away from the embassy.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced the deal in a statement this week. The 25-rai plot of land was given to the British government from their Thai counterparts in order to build a embassy in 1922. Funds from the sale will be used to build new compounds, improve security, and increase earthquake protection across the world.
“Britain is a leading player on the global stage and I’m determined to ensure that our diplomats have all the necessary tools to do their job effectively. This includes working in modern, safe, fit-for-purpose premises not just in Bangkok but around the world,” says British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to the BBC.
Located on Wireless Road, the embassy compound has its own tropical garden and a statue of Queen Victoria that is expected to remain there. However, some other parts of the embassy fell into disrepair as rumours that the UK government was considering selling the land began circulating a few years ago.
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