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King profits from sale of GPO

December 15 2005

He bought it for £5 million in 1999. He was given at least £550,000 in refurbishment and training grants for it in 2000. He made a large amount of money from selling advertising on it. He’s just sold it for £12 million to a joint venture team of AWG Property Ltd/HF Developments. Stefan King’s long-standing relationship with the former General Post Office on Glasgow’s George Square, which at times appeared to be so fractious, has ended sweetly for the managing director of the G1 group. The council has acted as handmaiden for a new buyer to come in and take over the empty 124-year-old.

Claiming that he had taken a personal hand in the sale, Councillor Purcell said: \"I am delighted to make this announcement. Like many other Glaswegians, I have been worried that such an important building has remained vacant despite its prime city centre location. It was obvious that action was necessary to get the building developed. I used my influence as leader to help facilitate negotiations to ensure that this 124-year-old building is given a new use in the Glasgow of the 21st century.”

According to a spokesperson for the real estate agents Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker, the building was confidentially marketed using the design proposals that architecture firm Building Design Partnership (BDP) had worked up for King. AWG Property Ltd/HF Developments plan to convert the GPO into an office building and have elected to use the plans drawn up by BDP for the previous owner, King. According to Dan Meyers at BDP, the layout will be the same, “but with a bit more development work done to the interior”.
The property was initially sold to King with the proviso that it would be converted into a 128-room boutique hotel. He later opted for a different usage and in 2003, the council considered moving into half of the building. However, the GPO has remained as a shell for over six years. “When Councillor Purcell approached us regarding interest shown in the building, it was at a time when we still considered No 1 to be a long-term property hold. However, he encouraged us to meet with the interested parties, which persuaded us to review our strategy,” said King.

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