US Embassy to move in as HR Owen surrenders lease

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The Independent Online

Shareholders in HR Owen, the listed upmarket car dealership, will vote on a £10m property transaction tomorrow morning that could give the American Embassy a plush new home.

An extraordinary general meeting is expected to see investors approve the early surrender of the lease on its after-sales services site in Wandsworth, south London. Due to expire in 2017, the lease would instead be terminated some time between 2010 and 2012.

Landlord Ipcress, a subsidiary of Ballymore Properties, has offered the cash to the Bentley and Ferrari dealership so it can sell the site to the US Embassy.

The embassy has acquired five acres from Ballymore, having decided to move from its existing headquarters in Mayfair. The lease surrender will allow the embassy's development to go ahead.

Cushman & Wakefield, the property agent, is selling off the Mayfair building, while rival DTZ worked on the valuation of the Wandsworth lease surrender for HR Owen.