30 August 2013, International Herald Tribune
LONDON — The location of the penthouse apartment is one of London’s most desirable: facing Piccadilly, with the popular restaurant Wolseley on the ground floor and The Ritz to the side, just across Arlington Street.
And the interior, which covers 7,708 square feet, or 716 square meters, was designed by Candy & Candy, the company behind such high-profile projects as One Hyde Park in London and the triplex penthouse at The Plaza in New York.
“It’s a bit like buying a branded handbag when you buy Candy & Candy — people are attracted to the brand,” said Camilla Dell, managing partner of Black Brick, an agency that represents buyers.
The apartment, with six bedrooms, is for sale at £47.5 million, or $73 million, fully furnished, and is being marketed by the Knight Frank real estate agency.
The décor has the usual features of extreme luxury: burr walnut finishes, hand-painted silk wallpaper and an array of electronics that includes an 80-inch high-definition plasma television in the media room. The dark colour palette, mostly in blues, grays, silvers and blacks, is lightened by mirrors and walls with lacquered sheens.
While several of the windows frame postcard views of Big Ben, the real sweeping views are from the roof terrace, which measures 1,467 square feet.
“It’s an investment which you will get good use out of,” said David Adams, managing director of John Taylor real estate in London, one of several top-end companies involved in the sales effort.
Average prices for properties in the St. James neighbourhood, bordered by Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly, are slightly less than £2,000 per square foot. And should the penthouse sell for the asking price, which is £6,162 per square foot, it would be 36 percent more than the area’s most recent record. That was £4,542 per square foot, paid in April 2012 for a £13.75 million penthouse in The Walpole, a group of five apartments farther along Arlington Street.
Caspar Harvard-Walls, a partner with Black Brick, said the penthouse sales effort “faces stiff competition from other developments which are similar prices, but have better facilities,” like a gym, spa or other services.
And the competition will be even stronger by 2015, when the development company Caraeno, working with the Carlyle Group, is scheduled to finish eight luxury apartments at 88 St. James’s Street, near St. James’s Palace.
There are other changes coming in the neighbourhood, the home of some of London’s most prestigious men’s clubs. The Crown Estate, which owns more than 50 percent of the buildings in the area, is investing £500 million over 10 years in improvements, including in residential properties.