Chinese Property Tycoon Given Green Light To Overhaul Central London Mansion

Chinese Property Tycoon Given Green Light To Overhaul Central London Mansion

Chinese billionaire, Cheung Chung-Kiu, has been given planning permission to build an eight-storey, 5,760-sq meter private palace overlooking the iconic Hyde Park in central London. Chung-Kiu, a Hong Kong-based property tycoon, plans to partially-demolish and reconstruct the mansion at 2-8A Rutland Gate in Knightsbridge (just south of Kensington Gardens). Property experts estimate the project may easily cost £100 million and be worth £500 million upon completion. 

Super-size property construction ban doesn’t apply

Westminster council’s unanimous approval came just months after a new ban on super-size, “Monopoly board-style” homes (over 200 square meters) constructed for overseas billionaires. The ban came into effect last year to improve housing affordability in wealthy areas of London, but doesn’t cover redeveloping existing houses. Since the Rutland Gate mansion is already classed as a single dwelling, Westminster council were unable to thwart the project as planning rules permit its redevelopment. And, unlike with the majority of large-scale private property developments, Chung-Kiu also won’t be required to help facilitate affordable home construction in the local area. 

Expensive undertaking

Chung-Kiu purchased the property earlier this year for £520 million from the estate of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia (who passed away in 2011). In many cases, a jumbo loan (aka a non-conforming conventional mortage) is used to purchase such high-value properties. Jumbo home loans are typically used to finance investment properties, primary residences, and vacation loans too expensive for conventional conforming loans.  In the building application, Chung-Kiu’s developers called the building “heavily dilapidated” and stated Chung-Kiu wants to “undertake works of repair, refurbishment and alteration to return the building into beneficial use as their London family home”. Originally constructed in the 1830s as a terrace of four family townhouses, the property has 45 bedrooms with 68 of its 166 bullet-proof windows boasting park views. The redeveloped property is set to feature several tonnes of marble, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a triple-height ballroom, and a multi-story basement to house Chung-Kiu’s luxury car collection.

Keeping London homes affordable

“We want Westminster to be home to thriving, mixed communities, not empty super-prime properties”, said Richard Beddoe, the counselor in charge of the planning. “That’s why we will be restricting the size of new luxury apartments and introducing a new extra-bedroom policy to make it easier for families to extend their homes so they have enough space to stay living in Westminster and are not forced to move out. Building the right type of homes for people to live in is a priority for the council and Westminster has delivered over 725 new affordable homes since 2017.”

Chung-Kiu has an estimated net worth of between $1.7-$2.7 billion. He’s chairman of CC Land, a  property development company, which purchased the City skyscraper (aka the Cheesegrater) for £1.15 billion in 2017. CC Land also previously funded the 2019 Pierre Bonnard exhibition at the Tate Modern and helped redevelop Whiteleys shopping center in Bayswater.

Chinese Property Tycoon Given Green Light To Overhaul Central London Mansion
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Chinese Property Tycoon Given Green Light To Overhaul Central London Mansion
BDC July 2022 issue - 294

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