Clarges

The Challenge

Our US client wanted to purchase an apartment in Mayfair on an ‘off-plan’ basis, with a minimum of three years between exchange and completion, as well as a staged payment schedule, to allow him the time to fund the transaction.

 

The Perfect Conclusion

Clarges is widely regarded as one of the best boutique buildings in London with only 34 units, as well as meeting the client’s requirements for 24-hour concierge and first-class leisure facilities. The issue was that the development has been completed, precluding payment over an extended period.

Nevertheless, we structured an unusual offer to the owner, namely that our client would rent the property via a series of one-year tenancies, up to a maximum of three years. We would agree the ultimate purchase price at the outset, and our client would pay the owner each year for an option to purchase the property, at that price, at any point during those three years. If our client walked away after the rental period, he would lose the option payments; otherwise, these payments would be deducted from the final purchase price.

While the negotiations were far from straightforward, we eventually agreed terms, namely that the purchase price was fixed at £10.5m to be paid within the three years.

However, the impact of Covid-19 meant that our client wanted to extend the timeframe of the deal, given the degree of economic uncertainty ahead. We went back to the seller to renegotiate to extend the term of the transaction to five years. After another extensive period of negotiation, we were able to agree revised terms. This both meant that we were able to keep the transaction together during a very testing time, while ultimately securing the best possible outcome for our client.

The Unfair Advantage

We know how to hold a deal together. This deal not only demonstrates our ability to construct and execute very complicated transactions in order to allow our clients to achieve the outcomes they need, but also our ability to renegotiate and hold the a transaction together during a global pandemic.

 

Mount Street

The Challenge

Our US client wanted to purchase a two bedroom apartment in Mayfair or Knightsbridge which would be let in the short term before being used by his family in the future. He was open to looking at both options in new build schemes as well as more traditional mansion block properties, and had a budget of up to £7,000,000. Before appointing Black Brick, our client had had a bad experience trying to acquire a property in a different part of London. It was at this point he decided that engaging a professional buying agent to assist with his search was the right approach.

 

The Perfect Conclusion

We undertook a forensic search of the significant number of new developments which had either recently completed or were available off plan whilst also looking at what was available in the more traditional mansion blocks. As a result of our analysis our client decided that he was not prepared to pay the premium being charged to be in a new build development, which in Mayfair can be as high as £5000-£6000 per sq. foot.  Through our network we were alerted to an off market two bedroom, two bathroom apartment on the second floor of a period block on Mount Street which is one of Mayfair’s most iconic and prestigious addresses. The ceiling heights and aspect over Mount Street and Berkeley Square made this flat highly desirable. The vendor was asking £6,950,000 however as a result of our negotiations we were able to save our client £325,000 or 4.6% from the asking price. Our “first in the door” advantage followed by an offer meant that the property never came onto the open market.

 

The Unfair Advantage

Our network is unrivalled – we gained access to this highly desirable apartment located on Mount Street before anyone else.

Lion House

The Challenge

Our repeat client for whom we originally acquired Red Lion House, was looking to acquire other investment property in Central London. We were the very first to be made aware of Lion House, a freehold block of 6 apartments, located directly behind our clients house. Strategically it made perfect sense for our client to acquire the building given the close proximity to his main house. Our challenge was trying to secure the property at a sensible price and avoid the block being launched onto the open market.

 

The Perfect Conclusion

Given our strong track record of having recently acquired Red Lion House, we used this as a key advantage and managed to swiftly agree terms at £7 million, saving our client 6.6% from the asking price. This equated to a very reasonable £1826 per square foot, without the property ever being openly advertised.

 

The Unfair Advantage

Our track record and strong reputation for getting deals done opens doors. We were the first in and secured the property without it ever coming onto the open market.

Red Lion House

The Challenge

Our client was a sophisticated investor, already owning significant commercial and residential real estate assets in London. He had been looking for some time to acquire a family home in London, and did not want to pay the huge premium that comes with buying new build properties. He needed 4 to 5 bedrooms and at least 3000 square feet in Marylebone or Mayfair.

 

The Perfect Conclusion

We identified a freehold house in Mayfair, measuring just over 8500 square feet which was being sold by receivers. The house had previously been sold in 2014 for £19.175m. Once a famous pub, The Red Lion was shut down in 2009 and sold to a luxury developer, and initially had asking price of £25 million. With 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 2 receptions rooms, dining room, kitchen, media room, gym, swimming pool, roof terrace and an internal lift, the house met with every single one of our clients requirements.

The purchase price of £15 million, equated to a highly competitive £1748 per square foot. Unmodernised houses in Mayfair usually achieve over £2000 per sq. foot, and modernised houses often achieve well in excess of £3000 per sq. foot. Red Lion House was in almost new condition, so the price was extremely attractive. Of course, we were not the only potential buyers interested in the property, and we had to move quickly and demonstrate our ability to get on and do the deal in order to win the contract from at least two other interested parties.

The area immediately surrounding the property is interesting from a future investment perspective. On one side of the property business entrepreneur and billionaire John Caudwell is developing his own private residence of over 50,000 sq. feet, and on the other side he is developing a new luxury block of residential apartments – Audley Square which is due to be one of the most luxurious new build developments in Central London, with prices set to be in the region of £10,000 per sq. foot.

Finally, we are in discussions with our client regarding our Vacant Care Service to help look after and service our clients home for him when he is travelling.

 

The Unfair Advantage

Mayfair houses traded at an average rate of £2567 per square foot in 2018. We acquired Red Lion House at an astonishing £1748 per square foot, 32% below the market average.

Park Lane Bank Vaults

Our Client

IBV International Vaults, a global Swiss vault company.

The Challenge

Our client operates IBV vaults, a market leading safety deposit box company across several locations including Switzerland and South Africa, but was keen to expand into London, where he could offer his VIP service to the world’s elite. There are very few bank vaults still in operation, and even fewer that are willing to sub-lease or sell their space to a third party. Many banks no longer offer safe deposit box facilities, but demand for such facilities is high as storing valuables in secure safety deposit boxes can avoid soaring insurance premiums.

The Perfect Conclusion

As a residential buying agency, this was a very unusual deal for us, made possible by our excellent connections as the vault was only available off-market. Situated on Park Lane in Mayfair, and next to the Dorchester Hotel, the location could not have been more perfect for our client.  We negotiated a long lease with Barclays, and a significant rent free period as our client intends on carrying out significant works to improve the vaults. The 2,077 sq. ft. vault will open in November 2017 and will be completed to a luxurious standard, providing 3,300 safety deposit boxes for discerning clients.

 

Clarges Mayfair

Our Client

A Russian client looking for a family apartment in London.

The Challenge

Having rented a property in Mayfair through our Rental Search Service when he first moved to London, our client decided that he wanted to purchase an apartment in the same neighbourhood. With very specific requirements of at least 3 bedrooms, lateral space, a 24 hour concierge and security, a good view and ideally a swimming pool, the number of suitable options in such a small area were extremely limited.

The Perfect Conclusion

Our extensive experience, knowledge and contacts in Mayfair meant that we were able to identify developments, both existing and off plan which would be able to satisfy our client’s specific requirements.  In the end Clarges Mayfair was the perfect solution for our client’s needs. A boutique scheme of just 34 apartments, developed by British Land and designed by Squire and Partners, with extensive leisure facilities including a swimming pool, as well as 24 hour concierge. The best units have far reaching southerly views over Green Park but unfortunately none were available on the open market. Through our network we sourced an off market 4 bedroom unit on the 4th floor with stunning views over the park. We then successfully negotiated 10% from the asking price, saving our client £2.35 million.

Mount Street

Our Client

A Russian tenant

The Challenge

Our Russian client was looking for a three bedroom furnished apartment in the middle of Mayfair. We shortlisted a number of options however he did not like the style and quality of the furniture in any of the properties and was not prepared to look outside of his search area.

The Perfect Conclusion

We identified a stunning first floor apartment overlooking Mount Street, which is regarded as one of the best addresses in the area, however it was only being offered on a unfurnished basis. Through our extensive network of contacts we were able to introduce our client to a furniture company who were able to design a bespoke solution for him.

Eaton House

Our Client

An Indian buyer. 

The Challenge

Our Indian client was looking for a 2 bed apartment in Mayfair or Knightsbridge with the specific requirement that the building should have a 24 hour front desk porter and air-conditioning. Due to currency remittance laws in India, their budget was constrained providing a further challenge to the search.

The Perfect Conclusion

We successfully agreed the purchase of this three bedroom, 7th floor, 1100 sq. foot apartment in a highly regarded apartment block in Mayfair next to Grosvenor Square. As a result of our negotiations we saved our client £400,000 from the asking price and managed a difficult conveyancing process through to a successful exchange of contracts. The property was held under two leases – one short lease with the immediate landlord and a longer concurrent lease granted by the Grosvenor estate. The short lease contained a provision which essentially could have restricted our clients from selling the property for a 7 year period. We successfully managed to negotiate with the landlord to vary the short lease to remove the relevant provision and also negotiated for the vendor to pay the premium for the this which was £65,000. Crucially we also introduced our client to a financial advisor who successfully arranged a mortgage that could work with their remittance restrictions and enable them to buy.

 

 

Maddox Street

The Client

A Brazilian buyer.

The Challenge

Our clients wanted to purchase an a apartment in London which would serve as both a holiday home as well as a long term investment. They wanted the property to be centrally located with easy access to the shopping, theatres and restaurants in Mayfair and the West End.

The Perfect Conclusion

Through our expertise in the new build market we identified a boutique apartment block located on the eastern side of Mayfair walking distance from Regent Street, Oxford Street and Covent Garden. The block consisted of just 5 units and demand for the two bedroom unit was very high. We were able to successfully secure the apartment for our client against fierce competition as a result of our reputation for representing the very best buyers in the market.

Maddox Street

The Client

A British investor.

The Challenge

Our client was looking for a prime Central London rental investment in a location that would provide long term capital growth and also be easy to rent out. The property needed to be in good condition and ready to let out.

The Perfect Conclusion

We successfully negotiated to buy this smart 2 bedroom apartment in Mayfair for £350,000 below the asking price, a 15% saving. The property is also within a 5 minute walk of the new Crossrail substation at Hanover Square. The area should see significant uplift in the coming years due to this new major transport link.