Billionaire to build €575m Knightsbridge ‘private palace’ with ballroom and Olympic pool

Property tycoon Cheung Chung-kiu gets go-ahead to replace 45-bed London mansion

2-8a Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, London. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty

2-8a Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, London. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty

 

A Chinese billionaire has been granted planning permission to construct an eight-storey, 42-bedroom, 5,760sq m (62,000sq ft) private palace overlooking Hyde Park, in central London.

Westminster City Council granted Cheung Chung-kiu, a Hong Kong-based property tycoon, permission to partly demolish and reconstruct 2-8a Rutland Gate, in Knightsbridge, in order to create his vast new home, which experts say could be worth up to £500 million, or €575 million, when completed.

In the building application for Cheung his agent said that the property was “heavily dilapidated” and that he would like to “undertake works of repair, refurbishment and alteration to return the building into beneficial use as their London family home”.

The property was previously a 45-bedroom home owned by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, of Saudi Arabia, who died in 2011. The house is just south of Kensington Gardens, and 68 of its 116 windows have a park view. The interiors were created by the French designer Alberto Pinto.

Cheung bought the property, which was built in the 1830s as a terrace of four grand family homes, for £205 million, or about €235 million, this year in a deal making it the most expensive property ever sold in the UK. Estate agents have estimated that it could easily cost £100 million to reconstruct and redevelop the building, which is scheduled to include several tonnes of marble.

Cheung, who is known to his friends as CK, is estimated to have a personal fortune of between €1.1 billion and €1.7 billion. He is chairman of the property development company CC Land, which bought the City of London skyscraper known as the Cheesegrater for £1.15 billion in 2017.

The plans (PDF), which were voted through unanimously at a Westminster planning committee meeting on July 20th, show the property will have a triple-height ballroom, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a two-level basement for Cheung’s collection of luxury cars.

The council’s decision to allow the project to go ahead comes just months after it imposed a ban on new “Monopoly board-style” residences so as to free up space for more affordable homes.

Westminster council says it is unable to stop this project going ahead as the site has previously been a single dwelling and planning rules allow it to be replaced. The council adds that Cheung will not be obliged to contribute to the construction of any affordable homes in the borough, as is the case with most large-scale private property developments.

A spokesperson for Westminster council says: “This year the council introduced a policy which will prevent the construction of new homes over 200sq m. This policy does not apply to the redevelopment of existing single dwellings. Building the right type of homes for people to live in is a priority for the council, and Westminster has delivered over 725 new affordable homes since 2017.”

The property, which has lain vacant for at least 10 years, previously was granted planning permission to be converted into 13 flats. – Guardian

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