Four developers have been shortlisted to buy the Crown Estate’s Metropole building in London’s West End.
Exemplar, funded by Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds (MSREF) and Stanhope, backed by Singapore-based real estate company CapitaLand, are the two English bidders left in the running.
Irish developer Ballymore, who is also set to build Europe’s tallest residential tower in Manchester, is also on the shortlist.
Australian residential developer Modern City Living, along with The Lustig & Moar Group and Macquarie Bank, are also short-listed with their plans for a 177,000 sq ft 6-star hotel and 100 luxury flats.
The short-list excludes some of the major names in property development including the Candys, Asif Aziz and Harry Handelsmann.
The Crown Estate did not put a quoting price on the site, but it is believed bids reached £160m. There were 26 bids submitted.
The short-listed candidates are now being re-interviewed and are being given the opportunity to raise their offers.
Westminster Council has stipulated a 177,000 sq ft hotel must be developed at the site near Trafalgar Square to counteract the loss of the Regent Palace Hotel, off Regent Street, which closed last December.
CBRE is advising the Crown Estate.