We’ve all heard of them, but few of us have seen inside London’s high-end luxe-look apartments. Nigel Lewis went to look around the first of a new breed that eschew bling, for sale at £12.75 million.
When a property is so expensive its guest bathroom is worth more per square foot than your car then you really pay attention while being shown around it. Even the most mildly curious mind is looking at every fixture, fitting and feature to work out when the money went. Is t loo handle ten times better than one at home? Does the golden brass balustrade justify the overall spend despite its wow factor? Does anyone really need four dishwashers?
Walking around The Penthouse on the freshly-minted Fitzroy Place, these questions pop into your head a lot. One thing’s for sure. This is a truly one-off property. And that’s what the people who will eventually call this two-floor apartment home will be looking for. While most people are focussing on the huge price tag, house hunters in this category want to know how much exclusivity their millions buy.
And the answer is, a fair amount. The property is on the top two floors of an already select new-build block that’s just five minutes from Oxford Street, and is the only penthouse on this square. And to top that, Fitzroy Place is the first new square to be built in London’s central districts for over 100 years. Replacing what older Londoners will remember as the Middlesex Hospital (until it closed in 2005), it includes the HQ of Estee Launder as well as two apartment blocks, restaurants, shops and the one part of hospital that remains; its chapel, which has been deconsecrated but can still be rented out for functions.
The penthouse is the icing on this mixed-use cake and comes with two parking spaces in the basement and a lift, the entrance of which can be monitored via CCTV link upstairs.
Once you’re up there are several jaw droppers to take in within three-bedroom duplex. One is the interior design, which has been completed Caroline Paterson, who was given over £100,000 and a remit to create something European, contemporary and that wasn’t bling.
We wanted to steer clear of the Knightsbridge or Mayfair luxe look that many developments feature elsewhere which are aimed at Middle Eastern buyers,” says Lucy Arthur from AshbyCapital, which is the financial force behind Fitzroy Place.
“Instead we wanted this to be the kind of cool European apartment that would appeal to everyone whether they’re European, Asian of from the Middle East.”
The other attraction of this penthouse duplex is that it’s relatively ‘affordable’ within the mildly crazy world of prime property. Lucy says it’s hard to find a penthouse like this one for less than £3,000 per square foot – and this one comes in at £2,8000.
It’s considerable square footage comes from the duplex design. The 26ft long lower floor is almost entirely open plan featuring floor-to-ceiling glass terrace doors along each side.
Therefore, as you glide out of your kitchen clutching a gin and tonic after a long day in the City, on the left doors lead out onto a terrace with views over the square looking east, while the bedroom-which has its own terrace-offers stunning views of the roofs of the West End and, on a clear evening, amazing sunsets.
But part of the high price of living here in this area. Fitzrovia, which used to have a reputation as a posh but hard-working area famous for the rag trade, has now gone upmarket. These days its dominated by the higher end of the corporate world. One add on residents of Fitzroy Place get is access to their own private club, the facilities of which are free. This includes a gym, offices, an 18-seat cinema, and concierge service. Fitzroy Place, is also home to award winning restaurant he Detox Kitchen.
Further, in December 2017 one of the two architects responsible for the design of Fitzroy Place won the Architect of the Year prize at the Architect Journal’s annual awards for the project which, it was said, wowed the judges with its design. So perhaps the £12.75 million price tag for its penthouse might be justified after all.