LONDON-The British Museum has sold a valuable site in the West End of London to developers who want to build a £40m hotel ($61.6m) on the land.

Private developer Consolidated Developments has fended off competition from the likes of Land Securities and British Land to buy the site at 21-23 New Oxford Street.

The British Museum originally bought the former post office depot site in for £11m ($16.9m) in 1995 and had plans to turn it into a textile museum and study centre. But the world famous museum is short of cash, has a budget deficit of £5m ($7.7m) and needs to cut 150 jobs.

The site already has planning permission for a 260-room hotel and leisure and retail developments. Morley Fund Management is providing the finance for a hotel development.