A staggering sixteen billion dollar (plus) fortune may only make him the 148th-wealthiest man in the world according to the folks at Forbes, but mining magnate Rinat Akhmetov is oft said by the people who say these sorts of things to be Ukraine's richest man. He is also the proud and confirmed new owner of a London penthouse that is among the most expensive apartments ever sold.
Your Mama twittered about this epic real estate event last week when the publicity shit hit the fan on all the property blogs and financial papers. At that time the buyer had yet to be specifically or publicly pinpointed. That changed yesterday–or maybe it was the day before–when a representative of the Ukrainian multi-billionaire confirmed his client's acquisition of a colossal penthouse house atop One Hyde Park, the famously and astonishingly expensive Candy & Candy conceived development in London's natty Knightsbridge nabe.
What Mister Akhmetov actually purchased at One Hyde Park, according to reports, are two massive units–a simplex and a duplex–stacked one on top of the other. Combined the pair of posh pads encompass three floors and cost Mister Akhmetov £136,600,000. That's $222,315,000 for all us Americanos. Numbers that high make Your Mama want to pee in our real estate pants in a disturbing and punishing mix of envy and outrage.
Mister Akhmetov, bless his big-spending heart, reportedly plans to spend another £60,000,000–nearly 100,000,000 U.S. bucks–to combine, re-design and decorate the elephantine penthouse. Based on information provided to Your Mama some time ago by an informant we called French Toast, each full-floor unit at One Hyde Park encompasses approximately 8,500 square feet. Your Mama used that figure to guesstimate that Mister Akhmetov's new digs in London–that he will unlikely occupy but a few weeks or months a year–measures in at well over 20,000 square feet excluding terraces.
Your Mama discussed the glammy One Hyde Park complex three years ago when all the world's real estate freakos like Your Mama were still a-quiver in hot anticipation of Candy & Candy's not yet completed attempt to make manifest an architectural and interior decoratin' tour de force. Prices at One Hyde Park run from a mind-boggling £6,750,000 ($10,985,000) for a one bedroom unit to a stupefying £115,000,000 ($187,161,000) for a duplex spread that may or may not have been acquired by a man named Mohammed Saud Sultan Al Qasimi who hails from one of the seven monarchical fiefdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates. According to the developers (via the Daily Mail) the majority of apartments at One Hyde Park range from £27-33,000,000, approximately $44-54,000,000 to all us peeps across the pond.
Many predicted that the exorbitant price tags coupled with a tanked global economy would spell disaster for One Hyde Park and its investors. Alas, activity at the very high end of the international property market remains relatively brisk compared to the molasses in which much of the world's real estate markets are stuck. But puppies, one must be realistic about how the finances of world's super rich get pinched when the economy dips, sags and plummets. Let's say a person has a net worth of sixteen billion big ones like Mister Akhmetov. Okay? Now, let's say an economic earthquake of some sort, like the recent sub-prime mortgage meltdown hot-mess, causes this person loses half his or her fortune. For many people, including Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter, a loss like that might mean we'll be forced to eat canned cat food for dinner when we're old. For Mister Sixteen Billion Bucks it's not really that big of a deal because, well, he's still got eight billion bucks in the bank, more than enough to maintain a three hundred million dollar pied a terre in London. Don't let anyone tell you life is fair, puppies.
The filthy rich residents at One Hyde Park have unfettered access to a private cinema, a golf simulator, wine cellar and fitness facilities that include an indoor swimming pool, sauna and gym. The building also provides valet services–it seems the über-affluent just hate to park their own cars–24/7 doormen and concierge and room service supplied from the hoity-toity Mandarin Oriental hotel next door.
One Hyde Parkians will also, it's been reported, have private underground access to the Mandarin Oriental hotel and a restaurant created by super-chef Heston Blumenthal of London's famed The Fat Duck. At Mister Blumenthal's Fat Duck earwhere the £160 (per person) prix fixe tasting menu includes palette challenging culinary confections such as Snail Porridge with Iberico Bellota ham and shaved fennel, and Anjou Pigeon with blood pudding and risotto of spelt and umbles. For desert a person might opt for the "BFG," which according to the menu on the interweb consists of kirsch ice cream and the smell of the Black Forest. Oh Jeezis, Mary and Jehosephat, Your Mama begs the hoity-toity restaurateurs of the world show some mercy on the people. Your Mama may be a proud and loud drunkard who loves us some reality tee-vee but we are not, contrary to type, entirely unsophisticated about food. However, what the hell is "the smell of the Black Forest?" Pleeze. Do they perform this sort of ephemeral dish-describing acrobatics in order to make diners feel like hillbilly rubes confronted with the ugly choice of Sophie? Diners at The Fat Duck must either pretend to know what the "smell of Black Forest" is in a hopelessly futile effort to fake their culinary bone fides or they're forced to ask an eye-rolling and 'tude-copping waiter-person to explain what this "smell of Black Forest" actually is and why it's important to the dish.
Anyhoo, the absurdly high prices ensure that only the super-rich need even bother to entertain the notion of a pied-a-terre or permanent residence at One Hyde Park. In accordance, the few names of rumored (and alleged) buyers that have slipped down the international property gossip grapevine are synonymous amongst the jet-setting global elite with near limitless–and mostly nouveau–riches. Kazakh copper king Vladimir Kim is reported to have snatched up a unit as have (allegedly) Irish property developer Ray Grehan, financially embattled Russian property developers Krill Pisarev and Yuri Zhukov and Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabber al Thani, the prime and foreign minister of Qatar.
Nefarious types beware: Buyers of this caliber demand and often require impenetrable state-of-the-art security and as such One Hyde Park provides bullet-proof glass, iris-recognition systems in the elevators, private panic rooms at the like. Not only is the building itself locked up like Fort Knox, many of the residents no doubt have a round-the-clock private security team who just might shoot first and ask questions later.
Equally acclaimed and reviled for their signature style, the Candy Brothers are no strangers to residential property transactions wherein so much money changes hands that it makes the heads of money-hungry multi-millionaires and billionaires alike spin around and spew the putrid vomit of envy. In the early naughts Nick and Christian Candy acquired the (in)famous Monte Carlo penthouse where billionaire banker Edmund Safra perished in a 1999 blaze. They spent years and many millions customizing and transforming the sea view aerie in their signature sleek, textural, dramatic and obviously expensive style. Global property watching children will recall that in September 2010 a big ol' brouhaha broke out in the real estate world about the Candy Brothers selling their shared 17,500 square foot duplex penthouse in Monte Carlo for "a diarrhea inducing £199,000,000." At that time the reported purchase price converted to a truly vexing $306,446,000, a number far greater than the GDP of any number of small nations.
Given the notoriously fickle real estate constitutions of mega-moneyed people around the world it would not surprise us in the least to learn in 2-4 years that Mister Akhmetov no longer wanted his boutique hotel-sized pied a terre. Should this come to pass, would anyone like to predict if Mister Akhmetov will endure a gargantuan loss or if some other free-spending billionaire will come along and pay even more than the three hundred million bucks that Mister Akhmetov is expected to spend on the purchase and reconfiguration? Anyone?
The childre will note: The photos show a typical full floor unit at One Hyde Park and not Mister Akhmetov's triplex penthouse.
interior photos: Daily Mail