Multimillion pound 'underground' development opportunity emerges

Multimillion pound 'underground' development opportunity emerges


Sitting dormant and disused beneath the streets of London lies the City’s largest asset, according to Ajit Chambers.

The entrepreneur and former banker believes that thousands of square metres of abandoned underground lines could provide the City with the plots which it so badly needs.

Ajit Chambers is now in talks with Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and various other government officials as he moves one step further to bringing his exciting plans to fruition.

Katie-Jill Rowland speaks to Ajit Chambers, businessman and founder of The Old London Underground Company.

B&C: When did you start up the company and why?

I started the company around two years ago.

We are in the middle of a financial down turn and a lot of people are waiting until the storm ends before they come up with new projects or development ideas.

I don’t share this view and I think now is the time to act. We need to give something back to the City. We are sitting on one of London’s largest unused assets and doing nothing to realise its potential. That was the thinking behind the company and the idea.

B&C: What are your plans for the stations?

The plans for the various sites will be down to the investors or developers who eventually purchase them. My plans only involve making the sites safe and viable and what is built on them should be down to the public and the investors.

B&C: I’ve read all sorts of things in the newspapers that suggest you are going to build pubs, clubs and theme parks. Where did these rumours come from then?

There was interest from an Austrian investor who wanted to build an entertainment park so I think that’s where the theme park rumour came from. But really, the sites could become a multitude of different types of businesses. The plot sizes will range from 2000-6000 square meters and there is also some tiny plots which I expect will be converted into cafes or bars.

B&C: I hear you’ve had some tense arguments with Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, over your plans. How does he feel about the project?

During meetings last year, the Mayor told me:”This guy has a brilliant plan to open up disused underground stations... My pledge to you is that we will do it if it doesn’t cost a penny of tax payers’ money.”

I have, of course, never intended to take any of the tax payers’ money and having demonstrated this fact, the Mayor has told us that he is backing the project, as long we provide safety and financial proof, something which I am confident that we will be able to do very shortly.

B&C: So what’s the next step for you?

On Monday April 11 we will hand deliver proof of financing and engineering to the relevant people. Considering the calibre of the safety and engineering experts which we have worked with to date, I have no doubt that these proofs will be accepted.

Later on in the month we will meet with Boris to present our business plan, namely that we want to build a consortium that will transfer into an international rail consultancy.

When these stages have passed we hope to start as soon as possible.

B&C: I heard that you had secured a £200M investor. Is that true, and if so, where is this money coming from?

For obvious reasons, I cannot release the name of the high-net worth individual who is backing us.

B&C: What are the opportunities for other developers or investors?

The potential opportunities are huge and I have already been contacted by hundreds of people who are interested in getting involved.

I have told these companies that if they build the first site/project at cost without realising profit, then we will guarantee that they are able to work on other sites and to earn profits from them.

B&C: So how do you plan to make any money from this?

Well, I have said from the beginning, I did not create this idea with the intention of making a lot of money. I do not own these sites and I have never claimed to, therefore I am merely a vehicle in this project.

I want this to benefit the public and TFL.

I will get a very small percentage of the equity and I hope to build up working relationships with the developers for future projects,  but my motivations are certainly not monetary at the present time.













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