1 July 2011 – The Times
The billionaire Reuben brothers have bought a prestigious Mayfair estate, which includes the former home of the In and Out Club on London’s Piccadilly, for £130 million cash.
David and Simon Reuben completed a deal on Wednesday to buy the six properties that make up the 1.3 acre “Piccadilly Estate” out of receivership for £20 million less than the £150 million asking price.
The estate includes the listed mansion at 94 Piccadilly, which once housed the Naval & Military Club and is known for its distinctive gateposts and five office and residential properties at 90-93 and 96-100 Piccadilly.
According to Property Week, the two veteran property investors are considering converting the former In and Out Club into a single “super prime residential property” to target the very strong demand for luxury London residences.
The Palladian-style mansion was built in 1756 for the second Earl of Egremont and is distinctive for the marked gates that give it its better-known name, the In & Out Club.
While some residential experts say the prominence of the property, which overlooks Green Park and is less than a two minute walk from the Tube station, may put off private wealthy buyers, the address could attract others.
The Reubens have been active in the prime lucrative London residential market and own adjoining buildings on Whitehall Street. However, any renovation of 94 Piccadilly is likely to be highly expensive as the property is nearly derelict after lying empty for nearly a decade.
Investor Simon Halabi, who formerly controlled the estate through Anglo Swiss Holdings had planning consent to turn the 180,000 sq ft estate into a six-star hotel and private members’ club. However, Lloyds Banking Group pulled the plug last year and placed the estate into receivership. Other prospective buyers, which have looked at buying the estate, have also considered uses such as a boutique hotel, embassy or private members’ club.
The Reubens’ purchase of the Piccadilly Estate marks the end of a protracted sale that has been under way since June last year when Allsop was appointed as receiver.
Behind the news: In with the new
It is more than 12 years since the Naval & Military Club moved out of 94 Piccadilly, its home since 1865, and decamped to new premises in St James’s Square (Dominic Walsh writes).
I remember the day well, as I had been invited by a member – a former major in the Gurkhas – to join him.
After a valedictory pink gin, the major’s favourite tipple, in the bar, we were invited to fall in outside with hundreds of other old soldiers and friends.
We paused for one last look at the magnificent Palladian-fronted property, once the London residence of Lord Palmerston, before the band struck up and led the march down Piccadilly to the club’s new home.
I can still recall the puzzled looks on tourists’ faces at the sight of so many distinguished old gentlemen, many sporting bowler hats and black umbrellas, marching down one of London’s busiest thoroughfares.
As we arrived at the new building, it was immediately appparent that, like its predecessor, the words In and Out had been painted on its stone gateposts.
The new building is undeniably a splendid one in its own right, dating back to 1679.
But, as the looks on the faces of some of the old soldiers I marched with that day – February 1, 1999 – betrayed, it doesn’t rival the original In & Out.