While some folks predict Brexit will stop overseas involvement in Britain, a foreign investor is about to buy the most expensive home ever sold in the United Kingdom — a 45-room mansion overlooking London’s Hyde Park that is in contract with a Chinese property tycoon for over £200 million (approximately $262 million). Previous reports on the mind-bending sale indicate the property will be purchased through Cheung Chung Kiu’s Hong Kong-listed company, CC Land Holdings.
The vast residence once comprised four separate spacious homes — each extravagant in its own right — before being converted into a single residence around 40 years ago. Like much of the prime real estate in London, the premises have a history of foreign ownership. The previous owner was Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who died in 2011. And, before that, Lebanon’s billionaire former prime minister Rafic Hariri was an owner.
According to Bloomberg, if Cheung decided to divide the gargantuan, 62,000-square-foot residence into separate, renovated condos, the value of the property could be as much as £700 million ($912 million), though it’s not publicly known if he plans to undertake such a costly renovation or if he’ll merely opt to keep the place as a single, aircraft hangar-sized home with more square footage than an American football field.
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Located in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge neighborhood, a swank area best known by tourists for the ultra-luxe department store Harrods, the massive mansion has 68 bulletproof windows that overlook Kensington Gardens. The imposing structure dates to the 1830s and its dozens of rooms include 20 bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, a private health spa, a gym and underground parking. In addition, there’s an extensive wing of staff rooms and numerous elevators.
The property once reveled in old-school opulence: ornate chandeliers, jewel-encrusted bidets — one of life’s more practical inventions, solid oak doors, velvet curtains and even 24-carat gold-plated waste paper bins. After the previous owner, Abdulaziz Al Saud, passed away in 2011, the epic mansion was unable to find a taker at its gasp-worthy £300 million ($391 million) asking price. Subsequently, before Cheung surfaced as a buyer, the entire contents of the property were auctioned off, making a tremendously expensive, wholesale refurbishment of the currently bare-bones interiors highly likely.
Perhaps surprisingly, Britain’s current record-holder for most expensive home isn’t located in London at all; rather, it’s a stately mansion called Park Place that’s located near Henley-on-Thames, in quiet Berkshire, and that was purchased in 2011 by exiled Russian billionaire Andrey Borodin for about $140 million. Last year, trophy property collector Ken Griffin, who owns the most expensive home in America, a multi-unit spread at the illustrious 220 Central Park South, purchased a Grade II listed Georgian mansion near Buckingham Palace for $95 million.