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There’s the one about the gentleman stepping out of his Club in St James’s into the rain. Unable to wave down a cab the concierge recommends a bus. “But I have never been on one of those things before” says the member. “They are really good” says the Concierge. As the member boards the next bus he calls out to the driver, “31a Carlton Terrace please”.
Indeed he might have been a member of the Navy & Military Club tucked up in the corner of St James’s Square, SW1. Until the end of the last century the Navy & Military occupied rather grander premises at Cambridge House, Piccadilly, more famously known as the In & Out Club because of the prominent signage on the entrance gates. A Grade 1 Listed mansion, its former owners included The Duke of Cambridge, son of King George 111 and Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. Since the departure of The Navel & Military in 1999 the Piccadilly premises has remained vacant, falling into disrepair. It was bought by one of Simon Halabi’s companies for refurbishment into a luxury hotel but it went into bankruptcy, the premises eventually being purchased last year for £130m by The Reuben Brothers.
They finally won planning consent last week to convert the former club into a single private residence extending to some 53,500 sq. ft. but only after agreeing an affordable housing contribution thought to be in excess of £5m, a sum which would have covered the cost of stocking the 35,000 bottle cellar with the finest vintages. With a predicted sale price in excess of £200m this would make it the most expensive private residence in the UK by a considerable margin. At £3,750 per square foot it makes the cost of prime offices in the West End (£2,500 per square foot) something of a bargain.
Morgan Pryce is a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.