17 April 2013 – Bloomberg
Billionaire property investors David and Simon Reuben can develop what’s likely to become the U.K.’s most expensive home after winning approval for a plan to convert a former members-only club near London’s Ritz Hotel.
Aldersgate Investment Management, owned by the Reubens, will be allowed to turn the former In and Out Club at 94 Piccadilly into a single home with about 5,630 square meters (60,600 square feet) of space, Westminster borough council decided at a meeting yesterday. Robert Davis, chairman of the planning-application committee, cast the deciding vote after a 2-2 tie was declared.
The building, once home to both a prince and a British prime minister, could sell for more than 200 million pounds ($307 million) after renovation, said Jonathan Hewlett, head of London residential property at broker Savills Plc. (SVS) The record is the 140 million pounds paid by Andrei Borodin, former chief executive officer of Bank of Moscow OJSC, for a home at Henley- on-Thames, the BBC reported in March.
Central London luxury-home prices rose 8.4 percent in February from a year earlier, the biggest gain in 10 months, Knight Frank LLP said last month. The home approved by the council yesterday will be 65 times larger than the average U.K. residence, according to calculations based on data compiled by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The Reuben brothers bought 94 Piccadilly, built in the 1750s, and adjacent buildings for 130 million pounds in June 2011, according to a statement at the time by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., which sold the property on behalf of receiver Allsop LLP.
The planning application for Number 94 was approved after the two investors offered to contribute 3.85 million pounds to the construction of affordable housing in the borough. The Reubens had initially offered 1.8 million pounds and the borough’s consultants had recommended that they pay 6.7 million pounds, according to documents circulated to the members before the vote.
Separate applications by the Reubens to convert 95 Piccadilly into a 1,400 square-meter home, and turn 90-93 Piccadilly into six apartments and stores were also approved by the council.
The building at 94 Piccadilly was occupied by the Naval and Military Club from 1865 until it became vacant about 14 years ago, according to a filing to the borough. The name In and Out Club stems from two signs on the entrance and exit gates. Previous residents include Lord Palmerston, a former prime minister, and Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.
The home, which is listed for historical preservation, will have a basement swimming pool, powder rooms, a ballroom, two libraries, a bar, a chauffeur’s room and studios for staff, according to documents filed to the borough.
The Reuben brothers had a 7 billion-pound fortune last year, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Their London property portfolio includes the Millbank Tower, luxury retail stores on Sloane Street and a site next to Tate Modern Museum on the River Thames, according to their website.