A billionaire Qatari Sheikh is restoring a "city palace" that would be London's first £ 300 million grand villa, became known today.
It is estimated that Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has bought the six-story pile in Belgravia for around £ 150m and will undergo a renovation that is expected to double its value.
The Forbes House is spread over one hectare of land between the Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park in central London.
Sheikh Thani, 57, who is worth about £ 1 billion, already owns a large part of One Hyde Park – the luxurious block of flats owned by the Candy Brothers in Knightsbridge.
The Qatari royal family to which he belongs has in recent years acquired Harrods, the Shard, the Chelsea Barracks and Canary Wharf, the capital being nicknamed "Londoha".
Thani's new mansion in Belgravia has more than 20 bedrooms, a driveway through the manicured lawn, and accommodates 32 vehicles.
Formerly owned by the Barclay brothers, the Georgian mansion was designed by Sir Robert Smirke – the creator of the British Museum – and has been an office building since the last abandoned owners in 1941.
However, the planning documents show that the sheikh will once again make it one of the largest "small city palaces" in the world, enjoyed by the rich and powerful "the British Empire at its peak and as rich as it ever was".
Forbes House was purchased by a Qatar sheik for around £ 150m, but after adding a new swimming pool, cinema and underground parking, it could be worth £ 300m
The house spans one hectare of land between Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park in central London
Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, worth a billion pounds, is said to have been bought by the Barclay brothers. The stamp duty alone should reach 20 million pounds
An Heritage report submitted to the Westminster Council and authored by the DIA Historic Buildings Consultancy states that it would become a one-family house of the highest quality.
The document adds, "There are few people who could / could restore it while ensuring that what is truly remarkable is both preserved and improved."
A magnificent double staircase leads from the ground floor to the first floor, with lifts from the basement to the upper floors.
The construction work, which has already been granted planning permission, includes two basement plunge pools with a luxury gym and a Turkish bath.
On the lower floor there is also a cinema and a car garage with a lift that can be used to move vehicles up and down the camp.
It is estimated that Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has bought the six-story pile in Belgravia for around £ 150m and will undergo a renovation that is expected to double its value
There are also two floors for children with a games and TV room and two living rooms in the 50,000 m² Super Villa and the main bedroom suites for him and her in the lower floors.
The Barclay brothers, who own the Daily Telegraph and the Ritz, launched it for £ 150 million two years ago.
The twins Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, both 81 – owners of the Ritz – bought the house in 2013 for just over £ 33 million, giving them a potential gain of at least £ 117 million on the sale.
Formerly the headquarters of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders was the Barclays for residential use and renewed the lease for 150 years, but was largely empty.
The Georgian mansion designed by Sir Robert Smirke – the creator of the British Museum – was a vacant office block for years and has not been used as a residence since 1941.
These beautiful staircases also have two floors for children with a games and TV room and two living rooms in the 50,000 square foot Super Villa and the main bedroom suites for him and her in the lower levels
They sold their 148-year standard lease for £ 34 million, but the price paid for real estate was kept secret even though it was assumed that it had earned the purchase price.
The sheikh will have paid around £ 22.4 million in stamp duty and must pay the landlord of the Duke of Westminster a base rent of £ 17,000 a year.
Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani owns parts of London through his real estate development company Waterknights, which supported One Hyde Park, but the Arab nation buys in particular one pound at a low level.
Qatar's Diar – the government's investment arm – has teamed with UK real estate developer Delancey Estates to buy the Olympic Village in Stratford for £ 557 million.
They also bought the US embassy building on Grosvenor Square in 2009.
The five-star Berkeley hotel, also in Knightsbridge, was added to Qatar's portfolio in 2015 after acquiring a 64 percent stake in the Maybourne group it owns.
This year, Qatar investors also agreed to buy a controlling stake in the company behind the world-famous Claridge's Hotel, where penthouses in Mayfair start at over £ 4,600 a night.
Another Mayfair hotel – the Connaught – belongs to the hotel company Coroin, in which Qatar now holds a majority stake.
In 2015, Qatar Holding and the Canadian company Brookfield purchased the Canary Wharf Group property for £ 2.6 billion.