Shell To Sell London Building

Friday, September 10, 1999
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday it was selling its landmark London Shell-Mex House building to privately owned U.S. property group Witkoff Group. Shell UK did not give terms of the deal but recent British media reports said New York property baron Steven Witkoff was offering approximately $288 million. Shell said it intended to mostly vacate the art deco building on the Strand, overlooking the River Thames, by the end of the year. The decision to leave the company's British head office building, built in 1931, was first announced a year ago as Shell aimed to cut costs following the slump in oil prices. Shell-Mex housed some 2,000 staff working for Shell's UK and international operations. The majority of staff are relocating to other Shell sites and new locations although the company said some 200 jobs are to be shed as a result of the move. Shell International Trading and Shipping Company will lease back two floors within the 10 story building, sited next to the Savoy Hotel on the north side of the Thames. Shell has also said it is studying plans to turn parts of the more modern Shell Center building, on the south side of the Thames, into a leisure and entertainment complex. It would continue to occupy part of that site. Monday's deal, which includes a neighboring building on the Strand, is Witkoff Group's first acquisition in Britain.
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