The world’s billionaires can take their pick of upmarket homes. The brand new One Hyde Park apartment complex in Knightsbridge, London has no doubt piqued their interest.
One Hyde Park officially plays host to the most expensive real estate in the world. The complex houses 86 residential units which are marketed from £20 million. The most expensive units have sold for approximately R1,83 billion which easily broke all real estate records at R77 258 per square foot.
One Hyde Park
Included within the complex is a retail area where Rolex, McLaren and Abu Dhabi Isamic Bank have taken occupation. The complex came about as a result of a joint venture between the Christian Candy owned CPC group and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar.
Not far from One Hyde Park lies Kensington Palace Gardens, another playground for the rich and famous. Kensington Palace Gardens has been dubbed ‘Billionaire’s Row’ given that it features some of the grandest and most expensive houses in the world. At present, the average price of a property in the area will set buyers back around £18 million.
The avenue was originally called the Queen’s Road given that it’s situated on part of the grounds of Kensington Palace. It was developed from the 1840s onwards when it was renamed. The palace, which is the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, fronts the southern part of the street on the eastern side. The houses at the northern end have mostly been constructed in the Italianate style while those at the southern end follow Queen Anne lines.
An inside view of one of the apartments at One Hyde Park
For much of the 20th century a large proportion of the houses were occupied by embassies and ambassadors' residences. Some still are, but others have been renovated and sold to private buyers such as the property bought in 2004 by the Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, who in 2008 was listed by Forbes magazine as the fourth richest man in the world.
The mansion at 18 Kensington Palace Gardens, historically belonging to the Rothschild family, was sold in 2001. Formerly, this house was owned by Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One racing boss. On October 8, 2001, he purchased the house from Iranian property developer David Khalili for £50 million.
This was substantially less than the asking price of £85 million when it was placed on the market. Khalili spent three years and more than £20 million turning the two houses into one, building a swimming pool and indulging in his taste for marble floors and pillars with marble from the same quarry as that used for the Taj Mahal. However, it was reported that Ecclestone's wife, Slavica, never liked the 5,100sqm, 18-bedroom mansion so they never moved in.
Due to the presence of embassies, both ends of the street have retained their original wrought-iron gates which are manned by armed police. This has resulted in an extremely low level of traffic for a central London street which no doubt suits its tenants just fine.
Surprisingly the world’s next most expensive property isn’t located at Kensington Palace Gardens. According to reports, the next most expensive property in the world is a beachfront ‘cottage’ in Carpintera in California which came in at about R43 million or R57 000 per square foot. Properties in Johannesburg’s Hyde Park and Cape Town’s Bishopscourt are positively bargains by comparison.