Aga Khan plots London return after embarrassing snub - 2010-05-29
The Aga Khan hopes to build an Islamic cultural 'hub' in London.
The Aga Khan suffered a humiliating defeat in 2002 when his plans to build a museum of Islamic art on one of London's most desirable sites were thrown out, even though his £24 million bid was twice the size of any other.
The racehorse breeder and spiritual leader to more than four million Ismaili Muslims was said to have been furious with what he saw as unfair and xenophobic treatment of his philanthropy, and signalled that would turn his back on this country.
Mandrake hears that now, however, he is in talks to develop a major Islamic learning and cultural "hub" at the £2 billion King's Cross Central Partnership development in north London.
His foundation has opened negotiations for a large facility on the 67-acre site, and may occupy as many as five buildings. They are mainly for students and educational facilities, but a museum of some kind has not been ruled out. "We are talking to a number of exciting partners," says a spokesman for the partnership.
In 2002, doctors at St Thomas's and King's College medical school threatened to resign en masse if the Aga Khan was allowed to buy the land that they owned opposite the Palace of Westminster.