Halabi's Hotel Dreams Make Way for the Piccadilly Palace

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Halabi's Hotel Dreams Make Way for the Piccadilly Palace


Byline: Peter Bill

AHOUSE -- correction -- a palace the size of 100 onebed flats is to be built in Piccadilly, worth perhaps [pounds sterling]250 million. The Reuben brothers, David and Simon, last week gave the go-ahead to architects Paul Davis + Partners to design a 50,000-square-foot residence within the walls of the long-vacated No 94, formerly home to the In and Out club.

The billionaire brothers paid lending banks [pounds sterling]130 million for the 1.3-acre sixblock Piccadilly Estate site in July. The deal done by property administrators Allsop included the 255-year-old mansion, which has lain empty since 1999 when the club moved to St James's Square after selling to investor Simon Halabi. He planned a six-star hotel.

The Halabi venture failed. The estate fell into the hands of his lenders last year. A year-long sales process failed to elicit bids around the asking price of [pounds sterling]150 million. When the Reuben brothers finally did the all-cash deal at [pounds sterling]130 million in July, Property Week hinted the club could be turned into a home.

That's what's happening. But the Reubens have also asked the architects to look at turning two of the remaining five buildings into homes. Both front Piccadilly. One block, to the left of No 94, could become a [pounds sterling]50 million home. …

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