The western Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung-kiu has agreed to buy a Knightsbridge mansion for more than £200m, in a house price record for the UK capital.
The family office of Mr Cheung, whose company CC Land owns London’s “Cheesegrater” skyscraper, is in the process of buying 2-8a Rutland Gate overlooking Hyde Park — providing a boost for a luxury property market that has spent four years in the doldrums.
The 1830s building with 45 bedrooms may be renovated as an apartment block, which could be worth up to £700m, or retained as a single private residence, the family office said.
Once the deal completes it will break London property records and rival the largest ever house purchases globally, such as the acquisition by the hedge fund founder Ken Griffin of a New York penthouse for $238m in 2019.
Mr Cheung’s family office called the building a “large white stucco private palace which provides 62,000 square feet of luxurious living space over seven storeys”. Its purchase through agents Beauchamp Estates was first reported by Bloomberg.
After four years of falling prices, the prime London housing market has showed some signs of stabilising. It was flat in the final quarter of 2019, with agents reporting a bump in sales after the Conservative party’s decisive victory in December.
Roarie Scarisbrick, a buying agent at Property Vision, said there had only ever been “five or six” residential sales worth more than £100m in the UK, and that the Rutland Gate property had been available for sale for more than seven years.
“It has been well known to be available since 2012 so it has not exactly flown off the shelf,” he said. “There is a potential development angle here if you look at it as lateral flats, so this is more than just a trophy house.”
About 10 houses and flats are currently “quietly available” in London for £100m or more, he said, but added: “I have seen plenty of houses in recent years which began life asking more than £100m but the vast majority end up falling short or not selling at all.”
The Rutland Gate property was converted from four town houses in the 1980s and was once home to the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. Subsequently it became the property of the late Saudi crown prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
It now boasts grand state rooms, several lifts, a swimming pool, private health spa, a gym and underground parking, as well as some well-known neighbours — Mr Griffin last year agreed to buy a £100m apartment in the neighbouring Peninsula London development, along with a £95m home near Buckingham Palace.
Mr Cheung has roots in the south-west Chinese city of Chongqing, and controls companies including CC Land, YT Realty and Planetree International Development. CC Land acquired the “Cheesegrater” skyscraper in London for £1.15bn two years ago.