The British Embassy in Tokyo is going to become a little smaller next year as the British government has decided to return a portion of the land.
The embassy is sprawled across a 35,000 sqm (376,600 sqft) estate just west of the Imperial Castle in Chiyoda-ku. The land has been leased by the British government since 1872. The US and Spain are the only other countries that lease their embassy land in Tokyo from the Japanese government.
Approximately 20% of the land will be returned to Japan. The rosenka* value of the entire embassy site is approximately 70 billion Yen (670 million USD) with the land to be returned to Japan valued at around 14 billion Yen (135 million USD). In return, the British Embassy will no longer have to pay rent on their remaining land. In 2013, the annual land rent was 81,290,000 Yen (780,000 USD).
The Japanese government does not have any current plans for the smaller portion of land, but there is a chance it could be made available for sale in the future.
The embassy was built on the site of a former Daimyo’s residence that had been abandoned during the Meiji Restoration. The first embassy building was built on the site in 1874, but was damaged in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake. The current embassy building was built in 1929.
The Bancho area in Chiyoda-ku is one of the most valuable residential areas in the country. A land survey location in Rokubancho was recently valued at 2.7 million Yen/sqm, making it the most expensive site in Japan, while another location in Sanbancho was valued at 2.15 million Yen/sqm, putting it in third place.
In September, a luxury condominium under construction just up the road from the British Embassy sold out. Average apartment prices in The Parkhouse Grand Chidorigafuchi were 2.4 million Yen/sqm. This is the most expensive apartment building to be developed in Japan since 2008.
*Rosenka land valuations are carried out on land fronting major roads. They are used to calculate inheritance and gift tax and represent about 80% of the koji-chika assessed land values (which represent about 60 ~ 80% of real market prices).
Sponichi Annex, December 21, 2013.
The Asahi Shimbun, December 22, 2013.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, December 20, 2013.