A London mansion with an underground pool and squash court has been sold for almost £55 million – making it the biggest deal of the year.
The Grade II listed stucco-fronted property used to belong to Sir Richard Branson and is near the Beckhams’ home in upmarket Holland Park.
Branson sold it for around £17.5 million a decade ago and, at the time, it was described as being in a “very poor state of repair” having been “neglected” for a number of years.
But the owners – a high-flying barrister and financial expert – set about turning it into one of west London’s finest family homes.
The mansion has now been quietly sold to a British Virgin Islands-based company for a staggering £53,489,500 – making it the most expensive residential home sold in Britain this year.
It is 100 times more expensive than a typical home in London and 280 times the price of the average home in England and Wales.
Incredibly, the price paid is around £10 million more than the combined total of every Welsh house sales in Neath, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent this year.
On top of the bumper price, the secretive buyer will have to pay a further £8 million in stamp duty – one of the biggest ever payouts to the Treasury for a residential home.
They will also incur the annual tax on enveloped dwellings, which means paying £218,000 per year.
The home underwent a huge overhaul in 2008 which included a subterranean extension with a swimming pool, squash court, gym and cinema.
On top of the entertaining quarters, there are six bedrooms – all with en-suite bathrooms.
The first floor is taken up by the master bedroom suite which has a large bathroom, dressing room, novel library and study.
There is also a conference room with roof and two roof terraces.
In the basement, alongside the pool and squash court, is a catering kitchen, staff sitting room, two staff bedrooms and bathrooms, a hobby room and a cinema.
It backs onto Holland Park and is regarded as being on the more desirable side of the road. The Beckhams live on the other side.
Other famous faces nearby include Simon Cowell, Robbie Williams and Jimmy Page.
Henry Pryor, a buying agent, said: “These houses in Holland Park are the diamonds in the crown jewels of the Kensington housing market.
“Most people digging a big hole underneath the house will fill half of it with a swimming pool and the other half with a vintage car collection. It is unusual to see a squash court.
“There are so few houses like this that they are like fine works of art and always in demand. This was an off market deal so you wouldn’t see an advert for it on Rightmove.
“If Posh Spice is looking over the fence she will be with looking with envy because as lovely has her house is, this property is on the right side of the street.”
The stunning mansion which has just been sold for £53.5 million was renovated and extended with the help of high-end architectural firm Giles Quarme & Associates.
From start to finish, the project took around four years, creating one of West London’s finest family homes.
It is thought the house has around 12,500 sq/ft of space, making it almost 15 times the size of the average new home.
Natasha Brown, a project manager and associate, said: “It is an amazing property and we did well with the basement. The digging out took around a year.
“The double height basement has a 15-metre pool, gym, sauna, treatment room and a full-size squash court which was a first.
“I think my favourite part is the combination of the historic and new. The juxtaposition of the two works so well.
“We couldn’t show that there was basement so installed water features in the garden to provide light. The ripple effect from the water creates wonderful shadows in the basement.
“The swimming pool can raise to become a grand dining room. We used sun pipes which allows natural light into normally dark rooms.
“We were very proud to have designed such a wonderful family home.”
Holland Park, which is described by estate agency Knight Frank as “one of London’s most prestigious streets”, is home to some of the capital’s wealthiest people.
A pair of tycoons are currently at loggerheads over a proposed mega-basement on the tree-lined street.
Asset manager Richard Deitz wants to build a 3,500 sq/ft extension beneath his garden but neighbour Tim Tacchi, a hedge fund founder, is against the plans.
The Beckhams bought their home on the street for £31 million and it is currently undergoing an extensive renovation.
Estate agency Knight Frank currently has a property on the market on the street – a five-bedroom apartment for sale for £12.5 million.