E&O to acquire, redevelop ESCA House in London

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 6): Lifestyle property developer Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) intends to takeover and redevelop the 1919-built ESCA House in Bayswater London.

In an announcement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, E&O said it is proposing to buy the entire stake in UK-based Loxley Holdings Management Ltd, which has earlier contracted to acquire the landmark architect for £27.65 million.

E&O is expected to pay an estimated £4 million in cash to buyout Loxley from TLH Investments Ltd and Lead Pacific Inc Ltd.

The announcement noted that 90% of the payment for the purchase of ESCA House would be funded through E&O’s internal funds as well as bank borrowings. About 70% of the purchase consideration would be settled in bank loans.

“The acquisition of ESCA House follows E&O’s objective of expanding our overseas growth engine in prime areas of London. The location of this early 20th century building cannot be over-emphasised and the property has excellent potential for redevelopment whilst respecting ESCA’s existing façade and redbrick structure,” said E&O managing director Datuk Terry Tham Ka Hon in a statement.

ESCA House is situated in London’s Zone One area of Bayswater along Palace Court, a road so named for its walking-distance proximity to the royal enclave of Kensington Palace Gardens.

Bordering the northern perimeter of Hyde Park, ESCA House is tucked along a quiet street within Bayswater characterised by charming streets and garden squares lined with Victorian stucco terraces, where properties range from exclusive apartments to imposing mansions, the statement said.

ESCA House is currently a low-built building of about 27,000 sq ft gross internal area comprising office and residential units.

“Subject to planning permission, our intention is to redevelop the building into a six-level residential development comprising 28 private residential units with a net internal area of about 36,000 sq ft and underground car parks,” Tham said.

“We expect to submit our application to the planning authorities as soon as the property acquisition is completed,” added Tham.

The acquisition of ESCA House follows E&O’s successful maiden entry into London with its Princes House refurbishment and conversion project in 2012. E&O is converting and refurbishing this 1920s neo-classical building into a total of 54 units comprising 20 residential units and 34 serviced apartments, which it expects to complete by 2016.

To-date, all residential units at Princes House have been sold while the 34 serviced apartments are slated for en bloc sale, the statement said.