Developers have stuck an asking price of £185m on a house overlooking Regent’s Park in central London in what would be the UK’s second most-expensive home purchase.
The property firm Zenprop is targeting foreign billionaires as potential buyers of 1-18 York Terrace East as it seeks to cash out of a 2016 investment.
The Grade I-listed building was completed in 1826 under designs by John Nash, the Regency architect whose other works include Buckingham Palace, Regent Street and the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
If it were bought by an individual it would represent the second most expensive house ever sold in the UK, despite the weakness in the luxury housing market caused by the pandemic. The Chinese property tycoon Cheung Chung-kiu agreed in January to buy a 45-room mansion overlooking Hyde Park in London for more than £200m.
The York Terrace East property, with 117,000 square feet of floorspace, previously served as government offices and then student accommodation, after bomb damage during the second world war.
Stephen Lindsay, an agent at Savills who is working on the property, said: “Nothing on this scale in such a prime London location has ever come up for sale.”
Derrick Beare, chief executive of Zenprop, said the building was bought four years ago for less than the current £185m listing price, despite previous reports that the company paid £200m.
“We would have made a very healthy profit, but because of Brexit and the pandemic, prices are not what they were,” Beare said.
He said he was still confident that he would find a buyer, having received multiple approaches from the family offices of prominent individuals. A buyer would have to refurbish about 90% of the interior to upgrade it from student hall to luxury level.
Beare said the property was “priced attractively for what it is” and described it as “one of the most amazing buildings I’ve ever seen”.
He thought London would continue to be seen as safe for buyers. “People love to buy real estate here. I don’t think that is going to change.”
Planning officials rejected a previous application for the building to be turned into townhouses because they would be too large, planning documents show.
The developers have planning permission for 26 flats and two houses. The plans would require the removal and replacement of the roof, floors, non-original stairs and the excavation of extra basement space, including underneath the gardens facing Regent’s Park.
One super-rich individual had considered buying the property to install one large dwelling in the terrace’s central block, with other houses either side, Beare said. However, the potential buyer put plans on hold because of Brexit and the pandemic.
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