The property arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has reportedly delayed the final phase of its $3.9 billion Chelsea Barracks scheme in London pending revisions to the residential offer.
Qatari Diar, which bought Chelsea Barracks for almost £1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2007, is understood to have put the sixth phase of the 448-home prime west London development on hold for up to four months, the Sunday Times reported.
It quoted a source close to the scheme as citing market uncertainty following the Brexit vote as one reason for the delay.
It is not the first time the controversial project has been delayed. It took several years to get off the ground and sparked controversy among various camps, including British heir to the throne Prince Charles, who wrote a letter to the Qatari emir in 2009 saying the original design by architect Lord Rogers “made my heart sink”.
Rogers’ plans were later scrapped, prompting legal action from the billionaire Candy brothers, who at the time were partners in the scheme.
Qatari Diar in 2008 acquired CPC Group’s stake in the project, but the investment subsidiary Project Blue later became embroiled in a legal battle with the UK’s HM Revenue &Customs over an alleged £50 million ($66.2 million) of unpaid stamp duty land tax.
In May this year an appeal court ruled against HMRC, saying it had been pursuing the wrong party all along.
Following further delays in 2013, when the first phase of Chelsea Barracks was put in hold while Qatari Diar “reviewed its strategy in the context of the prevailing economic environment”, it said in a press statement at the time, construction of the scheme finally got under way in 2015.
The plans comprise 448 homes, five acres of gardens and open spaces, a public sports centre, shops and a playground. The 74 flats in phase one are reportedly priced at between £2 million ($2.6 million) and £50 million ($66.2 million) and are scheduled for completion in two years.
Qatari Diar told the Sunday Times it was “committed to delivering a first-class development at Chelsea Barracks”. “There are no Brexit fears, and it’s business as usual with our next phase due to start construction this year,” the developer said.
A spokesperson for Qatari Diar declined to comment further when approached by Arabian Business.
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