Evening Standard – 14th December 2017
The billionaire Reuben brothers have won planning permission to turn a former Piccadilly private members’ club into one of London’s grandest hotels.
David and Simon Reuben, said to have a £14 billion fortune, spent about £130 million buying 94 Piccadilly, which previously housed the In & Out club, and several adjacent buildings in 2011. The siblings were awarded permission to turn the site opposite Green Park into the UK’s most expensive home, a 48-room residence worth an estimated £250 million.
However, they have since pursued plans to restore the rundown buildings into a five-star hotel featuring a grand ballroom which, at 2,360sq ft, would be more than double the size of the average home. There will also be a restaurant, bars, a spa, pool and gym, and seven residential apartments.
The mansion, which is Grade I listed and known as Cambridge House, was built between 1756 and 1764 for the second Earl of Egremont. It later became the home of Viscount Palmerston, who twice served as prime minister and lived there until his death in 1865. It was then owned until 1998 by the Naval and Military Club, which became known as the In & Out Club after the entrance and exit signs on the mansion’s gateposts. The club is now housed in St James’s Square. Its president is Prince Philip and notable past members include Lawrence of Arabia, Ian Fleming and Rudyard Kipling.
Under the plans, adjacent unlisted buildings at 42 Half Moon Street, 11 White Horse Street and 12 Shepherd Market will be demolished.
Westminster council’s chairman of planning Richard Beddoe said: “Cambridge House is architecturally unique so it’s fantastic that this famous old building will be restored to its former glory. As a hotel, this historic building will be enjoyed by a new generation of visitors and take its rightful place as a landmark address on Piccadilly.”
Paul Collins, of property agent CBRE, said the decision was as a “tremendous vote of confidence” in London’s hotel market. He said: “It is exciting that buildings such as the former In & Out club will be converted to hotel use.”