London’s most expensive townhouse goes on sale

A row of townhouses in Chelsea Barracks. The residence pictured in the center has just been listed for around $74 million.

Will Pryce

One of London’s most expensive townhouses was listed for £60 million (about $74 million) on Monday.

Packed with amenities, the residence is spread over six levels, including two underground. There you’ll find a pool that stretches 39 feet, a spa, and parking connected to a hidden road.

The subterranean level of the home includes a swimming pool that stretches 39 feet and a pool deck furnished with loungers.

Will Pryce

The eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom home spans 14,700 square feet and is located in a new development called Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia, one of London’s most expensive areas.

The development is named after the land on which it sits, a 13-acre site that housed British Royal Army regiments for 150 years. The property was sold by the UK Ministry of Defense in 2008 for US$1.3 billion, or a whopping US$100 million per acre. The sale price made it one of the largest land transfers in British history and one of the largest residential property transactions in the world.

Whistler Square at Chelsea Barracks.

Will Pryce

The site was purchased by the State of Qatar sovereign wealth fund in conjunction with the Candy Brothers, British developers who later sold their stake to the sovereign state’s Qatari Diar Real Estate Company. The company oversaw the development of 290 luxury residences and 130 affordable housing units on the site.

The mega development is less than two miles from Buckingham Palace and just over a quarter mile from the River Thames.

According to Richard Oakes, Qatari Diar’s chief sales and marketing officer, the land’s proximity to the river and high water tables below required the developer to construct an underground barrier around the construction zone to prevent water from entering the site.

It’s a costly engineering feat that took two years to complete. Oakes told CNBC it was worth the time and money because it unlocks the ability to build down.

Now the development contains an underground world that spans two levels of each of the 13 townhouses. It includes parking lots connected by an underground road that leads to a nearby parking garage, creating a stealthy way to enter and exit the houses by car. According to Oakes, there’s no curb parking, so the undercover parking is a blessing.

There is underground parking below the townhouses, eliminating the need for on-street parking.

Will Pryce

Oakes declined to reveal the total cost of the development, but he told CNBC the project is two-thirds complete and has already reached $1.2 billion in home sales since 2015. And the apartments fetch an impressive price per square foot, averaging nearly $5,600.

“We’re absolutely trading at a premium,” Oakes said. “I estimate that we have 30% bounty in the local area [residences].”

The family room at 3 Whistler Square.

Will Pryce

At approximately $74 million, the asking price for the townhouse is approximately $5,000 per square foot. Oakes told CNBC he was “absolutely confident” about the pricing, adding that one unit in the development has already sold for more.

“Releasing pent-up demand following Brexit uncertainty and frustration over Covid travel restrictions has boosted activity from London’s 10million [pound]-Plus property market last year,” said Tom Bill, Knight Frank’s head of UK housing research. And even with significantly higher mortgage rates, he told CNBC, wealthy buyers are in a comparatively strong position and the price of over £10m worth of stock is down about 12% from its last peak – September 2015 – which is also the case will support demand.

The study of the $74 million townhouse.

Will Pryce

For comparison, in 2022 the £10m+ super prime market in London saw 162 transactions, two more than in 2021, according to data from Bill. However, the number is likely to increase due to data delays.

Meanwhile, in the last 12 months since February, the main market in central London has seen 560 sales worth over £5million, with 60 of those deals taking place in Belgravia. According to Bill, at the same time and in the same price range, the borough recorded an average price per square foot of over $3,300, compared to just over $3,100 per square foot for prime central London.

Oakes attributes the significant premium realized at Chelsea Barracks to a few factors, including the units being completely new build, which is rare in Belgravia.

The pool at the Garrison Club at Chelsea Barracks.

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He said there is also value added through concierge services, security and the community’s health and wellness center open to residents only, the Garrison Club. The club offers 12,700 square feet of luxurious amenities, including a 66-foot swimming pool, exercise room, steam and sauna rooms, and private exercise studios.

At the 12,700-square-foot, wellness-focused Garrison Club.

Will Pryce

And wealthy shoppers are drawn to a convenience at Chelsea Barracks he calls “lock up and leave.”

“Here you can toss the keys to the concierge, go away for a couple of months, and come back, and your house is warmed,” Oakes said. “You know that anything can be done for you.”

Here’s a closer look at London’s latest $74 million deal, which is being sold fully furnished.

The formal reception room.

Will Pryce

On the first floor of the six-story home at 3 Whistler Square is a grand reception room over 30 feet long. The room features floor to ceiling windows with bespoke iron balustrades intricately designed for any townhouse.

The master bedroom.

Will Pryce

The entire second floor of the residence is dedicated to the master suite. Accessed by a grand staircase or elevator, the 1,600-square-foot space includes a lobby, handbag cloakroom, two bathrooms, and two walk-in closets/dressing rooms.

One of the two bathrooms in the master suite.

Will Pryce

One floor up from the main suite are four en-suite guest bedrooms and one floor up is a roof terrace.

One of four en-suite bedrooms on the third floor of the residence.

Will Pryce

Now to what is below. The first of two lower levels includes a family kitchen and dining area with walk out access to the garden at the rear of the house. This can be achieved at an underground level as the rear garden is one level below street level. Also on this level are two further bedrooms for staff and access to two elevators, one for residents and the other for service.

Family area on the lower level and views of the back garden.

Will Pryce

One level below is the second underground level, which is the most expansive floor of the home at over 4,700 square feet. This level has a cinema and wine room as well as a separate wine cellar.

Cinema room on the second underground level of the house.

Will Pryce

There’s also a health and wellness area that includes a private 39-foot indoor pool, gym, locker rooms, steam and sauna rooms, and spa treatment areas. This level also features a 30 foot wide garage with secured access to an underground in-and-out driveway.

One of the townhouse’s underground spa treatment rooms.

Will Pryce

Across the backyard is a structure called The Mews. The name is a historical reference to stables that were once built behind large townhouses to house horses before being replaced by cars in the early 20th century.

Across the lawn in the backyard is a second building that houses a duplex guest house called The Mews.

Will Pryce

This modern version houses a one bedroom duplex guest house. While this second home is separated from the main residence by about 40 feet on the surface, hidden deep beneath the lawn, the two homes are very closely connected. The subterranean pool level, buried two stories directly below the lawn, runs the length of the courtyard and connects the lowest level of the main house with the lowest level of the guest house.

Interior view of the guest house dining room.

Will Pryce

Oakes told CNBC the sale would be subject to a 15% stamp duty, which would mean an additional $11.1 million in fees. And the buyer should expect to pay a homeowner’s fee, which works out to about $164,000 per year.

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