Qatari Diar wins Chelsea Barracks approval

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Soldiers leave the Chelsea Barracks for the last time in 2007 (AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis)

After years of controversy and debate, Qatari Diar has won local approval for a $4.8 billion plan to redevelop the Chelsea Barracks site in west London.

The concept approved by the Westminster Council calls for 448 homes, a sports centre, shops and a medical facility on the 12.8-acre site. Of the homes, 123 are designated as affordable housing and the architecture is best described as "traditional."

The new plan also retains Garrison Chapel, a historic Grade II listed building, which will be used as a community centre.

Two years ago Qatari Diar, the real estate arm of the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, pulled a plan for the site after Prince Charles complained about the modern glass-and-steel design created by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners. The conflict was cat nip for the UK media, which eagerly tracked every new detail of the story, especially when the Candy Brothers, Qatari Diar's original partner in the project, sued  Qatari Diar, alleging breach of contract, citing the Prince's intervention.

Qatari Diar paid 959 million pounds ($1.5 billion) for the site in 2008, at the time the largest amount ever paid for property in the city.