Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ukrainian Mining Magnate Snaps Up Pricey Penthouse at London's One Hyde Park

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


Steve Mawson said...

Oh Mumsie Wumsie...one wonders how and why it seems that (for what we see from the photos) one 8500 sq ft apartment, let alone one of 20000 sq ft manages to look, well, er um, like one ordinary but ritzy, glam but, meh, nada spesh pad, nor appears different from manu other pads we oft see thanks to you. Yet we're lead to believe that this ubermongous pad is worth that (ridiculous and totally unjustifiable) obscene amount of money !? Those Candy's must produce something really sweet tasting, yet I don't get it.
Honestly, for just a mere US$39.7 million one could have an island paradise like this one (http://www.islaferradura.com/index_test.html) and much change left over, for, jetting around the world in your private jet, leasing fabulous boats, homes, castles etc, and thus avoiding the costs of ownership of any of those other ridiculous other trinkets that these people seem obsessed to own. And if security is an issue, what better than to never be resident of one permanent abode ?
For a mere US$2 million I would sell my slice of Patagonian paradise and would do exactly the above, very comfortably indeed !

Anonymous said...

You can be sure that no candy or magazine salespeople will ring your doorbell at this place....

I would like to see one of their homeowners association meetings...every owner probably sends their legal team to the meetings.

Anonymous said...

Jeezum Christmas these numbers are beyond my grasp. As are those of the national debt. Crikey.

Rational Plan said...

Mama, in regards to Heston Blumenthal.

Look up Hestons Feasts or in Search of Perfection for download.

It's just amazing what he can achieve. Yes he really can transfer smells into drinks and foods. The format for 'feasts' is that celebrities (non trashy) are invited to a feast with a theme. The Willy Wonka episode was amazing from lickable wallpaper, to a meal in a drink where each layer tasted of a different course. I love him.

Anonymous said...

According to the Daily Mail article it looks like one unit will be up for grabs soon:

Krill Pisarev and Yuri Zhukov, property developers
The pair’s PIK Group became the largest listed developer in Russia and in 2008 its portfolio was valued at £6.25billion. Since then it has lost 98 per cent of its stock value. They could lose control of the company after Nomos bank demanded £172million for a loan payment and penalties.


Anonymous said...


A Willy Wonka meal sounds fab, but I imagine the 'smell of the black forest' to be a German guy in lederhosen pissing on a plate.

And though I love escargot, 'snail porridge' isn't rocking my boat either.

He may be a great chef, but he's not much of a poet.

Langtry said...

London is an amazing place. That said, no flat is worth $221M. Unless they can guarantee that you'll never be stuck in the capital's horrendous traffic, your shite will never stink, every partner will be willing, etc, than the price is simply absurd.

Anonymous said...

I suspect "smell of the Black Forest" refers to a Black Forest cake that is made of chocolate and some other stuff.

Anonymous said...


Jumpin' Jejosephat said...

Not my cup of tea, overall, but who am I to understand the machinations of the stunningly rich....
I WOULD, however, sacrifice my nutsack for those dee-vine chairs in the master bedroom. Of course, now that I think about it, if that scenario were to play itself out I clearly would have no use for them for at least a few weeks.
"I do love a warm pig belly for my sore @*€!"

Anonymous said...

"...a disturbing and punishing mix of envy and outrage."

Mama, one of your best phrases ever! You got it in a succinct - not always your strong suit - nutshell.

(Now I'm off to figure out what a non-succinct nutshell would be...)

Anonymous said...

revolution, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend anyone visiting the London area to visit 'The Fat Duck' ... it's amazing. One of the courses an iPod is on your plate in a huge shell & when you put the iPod on it makes the food taste completely different ... insane! I know it sounds ridiculous but he's more a scientist than a chef ... of course, he's an amazing chef but so much of it is about science, taste & senses.

Not sure why he hasn't had a show over here [U.S] b/c he's far more interesting compared to Gordon Ramsay & Jamie Oliver.

StPaulSnowman said...

While the super rich savor the olfactory glory of the Black Forest, I will continue to frequent Denny's, where the smell of the White Bush is never far away.

Anonymous said...

I know that London is true world-class city and a base for many of the world's wealthiest but I could never justify the purchase of a $221 million condo. I bought my house in Shreveport for $168,000 -and I can park 3 cars in my driveway. Condos can't do that. And my house is every bit as luxurious as that place -I have a skylight.

Anonymous said...

All of you who say $221 million is absurd are absolutely right. But I'll bet you the buyers agree with you as well. However, most of these Russians are probably buying all these ridiculously expensive properties to get rid of laundered money.

Anonymous said...

I think the key point about places like this, Mama, is not so much that they are places to live, but are places to park money in a safe country. When you're a Russian billionaire, your fortune could disappear at the whim of that nice Mr. Putin.

But if you'v parked a small fortune in London real estate - no matter what it costs to maintain - you've always your yourself a little nest egg in case of one of those VERY rainy days that happen to rich people in places like Russia.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that these quoted prices aren't the actual selling prices. The Candy brothers are infamous for talking up the market.

Even at 20,000 sq feet, it doesn't make sense to spend $222 million on one apartment. Just compare that to the top end apartments in NYC that go for $30 - $40 million.

And how is it even possible to spend $100 million redecorating? I assume this figure includes artwork otherwise it seems to be BS.

Ernesto said...

can you only imagine what the monthly maintenance fees would be? I would guess in the 6 figures...based on 30M apts in NYC with a 15000+ maintenance.

Anonymous said...

to anon 1:26...it is VERY easy to decorate an apartment for 100M. Just one Eileen Grey chair would set you back 28million...just look at YSL's apartment and sale!

Anonymous said...

I have seen these apartments (from the outside) they look pretty awful, but I gather the security is pretty impressive. They are generally regarded by people as bolt holes for those people who have stolen all that lovely oil money and whose people have/may rise against them.

I would prefer something much more spacious for that kind of cash, but it is across the street from Harrods ... and I havn't got that sort of cash.