Deadline day for Wren's baroque masterpiece

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The Independent Online
IAN MacKINNON

Agents handling the sale of the lease for the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, one of Britain's architectural master-pieces, anticipate a flurry of bids minutes before the deadline at noon tomorrow.

Yet as the countdown entered its final hours yesterday, not one sealed bid had been received, despite expressions of interest in the Grade I listed building on the Thames from more than 450 organisations.

However, Knight Frank & Rutley, the estate agents co- ordinating the sale of the 150-year lease for the Ministry of Defence, said such proposals invariably arrived at the last moment, as organisations tended to use all the available time.

The sale and development of the Sir Christopher Wren-designed complex, will have stringent conditions attached.

Primary contenders are the National Maritime Museum and the University of Greenwich, which propose transforming Greenwich into Britain's foremost Baroque site to host millennium celebrations. But bids are also expected from other educational organisations, both in Britain and abroad. "The serious interest that will result in a bid is almost exclusively educational," said Mr Haynes.

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