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The high life isn’t too arduous for rich flat-dwellers

A lifestyle concierge for residents is a bare necessity in some of the fancier apartment blocks in London

SIMON WHITE, DIRECTOR, LONDON’S CHARTERED SURVEYORS
SIMON WHITE, DIRECTOR, LONDON’S CHARTERED SURVEYORS

Interestingly, the national media still predominantly refers to the Candy Brothers’ new Knightsbridge development – where one penthouse is on the market for £140m – as One Hyde Park (pictured).

As I wrote not long ago the official address has been changed to 100 Knightsbridge because that’s what the Post Office has decreed, and in such matters it is judge and jury.

Whether or not the penthouse will sell for £140m remains to be seen but this development impresses me. It seems to have emerged from the ground in no time at all and is destined to become iconic.

But nobody will live in the development all year round as flats here are simply an alternative to hotel suites for the mega-rich from the Gulf who visit London during the summer when it’s too hot in their country.

Like the Candy Brothers’ earlier development The Knightsbridge, One Hyde Park will have what is known as a lifestyle concierge.

The concierge at The Knightsbridge speaks 50 languages and can arrange your tee time at Wentworth

Gone are the commissionaires who were all ex-military and couldn’t find any other form of employment. No, the lifestyle concierge at The Knightsbridge is fluent in over 50 languages and can arrange anything from a tee time at Wentworth to getting you onto the fully booked 10.45pm flight to JFK.

There are some other interesting developments in London at the moment, including Strata SE1 which is a 43-storey, 408-apartment skyscraper at Elephant and Castle.

I’ve had a number of lenders consult me about this building, specifically about whether or not flats are likely to remain saleable.
There’s no problem until I tell them that 25% of the flats on floors two to 10 are being sold on a shared ownership basis, which seems to send some lenders scurrying under the nearest rock.

I think this attitude is a bit harsh. It’s as if the words shared ownership automatically mean rusting shopping trolleys and lifts smelling of urine. In fact, the reverse is probably true because if you have scrimped and saved to purchase even a share of a property you’re surely going to look after it, aren’t you?

Not so long ago, in the days when there were lenders that would accept greenhouses, we surveyors used to be instructed to value flats in some of the worst local authority estates in London. One such is the Stockwell Park Estate in SW9.

A certain large surveying practice known to us all doesn’t allow female surveyors to visit this estate alone, and in the wake of the Suzy Lamplugh case this has to be right.

Another new development of note in the capital is The Shard at 32 London Bridge which will stand over 1,000ft high and have 72 floors. Construction began in February 2009 and between levels 53 and 65 there are to be residential apartments with – yes, you guessed it – a lifestyle concierge.

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