The Guardian : Greek consul's London villa fetches 23.3m as part of state's fire sale
Thu 04 Apr 2013
Body overseeing debt-stricken country's privatisation drive says it has raised 41.1m from selling four diplomatic properties.
A small corner of Notting Hill is to play a part in reducing Greece's debt mountain, following the sale of the luxury home of the Greek consul for 23.3m.
The 8,700sq ft Victorian villa in west London has nine bedrooms and views of Holland Park, and has been sold to an unknown buyer for 3m more than expected in its initial valuation last September.
The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), which is overseeing the country's privatisation drive, announced on Tuesday that it had raised 41.1m from selling four diplomatic properties, including the London consul's residence. As well as the diplomatic residences, Greece has embarked on a fire sale of its sun-kissed islands, airports, marinas and royal palaces.
The Holland Park property has been in the hands of the Greek state since 1973, but became an asset for sale as the economic crisis took hold. Kensington and Chelsea is the second most expensive borough for property in the UK, behind Westminster.
What the Greek government and the consul have lost, Greece's creditors will gain.The proceeds will go to the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
TAIPED said other sales included diplomatic buildings in Nicosia, Brussels and Belgrade, with respective price tags of 8.3m, 3.24m and 2.075m.
"After all the delays in our privatisation programme, this has to be good news," one Greek insider said.
Independent property developer Julian Bryson said converting the west London property into an "oligarch's London mansion" could cost around 600 per sq ft a bill of around 5.25m. This would pay for a very "high-end job" to install entertainment systems and ensuite bathrooms and overhaul the layout to turn offices into living space.
That value could easily double, he said, if the buyer wanted to excavate the basement to install a swimming pool and create extra living space, as is becoming typical for London's space-pressed millionaires, who are prevented from building upwards and outwards by planning laws. Costs would escalate again if the owner let loose landscape gardeners on the overgrown wilderness at the back of the property.
Nevertheless, Bryson said someone had made a good buy. "If I had 23m I would have bought it. It is a fantastic property." The unknown buyer's neighbours include Simon Cowell and Richard Branson, according to Marsh & Parsons estate agents.
"From Russian oligarchs to Hollywood celebrities it epitomises the glitzy, but it's also got a residential feel to it which is quite nice," said Bryson.
Although the borough is best known for chic eateries, upmarket boutiques and riding stables in nearby Avondale Park, it also boasts two state secondary schools rated "excellent" by Ofsted, estate agents point out.