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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dubai buys Grand Buildings on Trafalgar Square

The Dubai authorities have snapped up a corner of Trafalgar Square in a deal believed to be worth around £155m. One Trafalgar Square, known as Grand Buildings, has been bought by Istithmar, an investment company indirectly controlled by the Dubai government. The site was sold by Noriba Bank, a Bahrain-based subsidiary of Swiss banking giant UBS, which acquired it from listed property group Land Securities for £140m two years ago. The 198,000sq ft site in the south east corner of the London square dates back to the 1870s and includes retail outlets and offices.

Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, the chairman of Istithmar, was recently reported as saying that London was important as "it has a strong real estate market." The purchase of Grand Buildings is the latest in a string of deals by the Dubai authorities. The wealthy sheikhdom, part of the United Arab Emirates, has positioned itself as a tourist destination in recent years as well as setting itself up as an international finance centre and transport hub.

Source: The Independent

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