Some interesting rumours are circulating about one of central London’s most important – and largest – private houses.
Nestled in between Grosvenor Crescent, the Caledonian Club and Halkin Street, the Grade II listed Forbes House is a Georgian mansion dating back to 1810, sat on a frankly unbelievable acre-sized plot and approached by a sweeping carriage driveway.
Set well back, detached, walled, and with enough parking for 32 cars, the five-storey former nobleman’s residence served as the headquarters of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders from 1945-2011, before reportedly being snapped up by the billionaire Ritz-owning Barclay brothers on a 47 year lease.
Westminster planning records show the council granted permission for a reversion back to a “single grand residential dwelling” in 2012, and it’s been claimed the 20-bed trophy home is now up for sale at £150m, fully refurb’d and with a freshly-extended 148 year lease. Highlights include a glorious marble staircase, vast principal reception rooms and some superb original features.
A sale at this level would of course break a record or two, but we’re very much in speculation territory at this stage. A rumoured asking is a long way from a price paid. We do know, however, that it packs at least 37,500 square feet of internal space and was built in three stages: the first five bays were designed by Sir Robert Smirke for the fifth Earl of Oxford; the next three were added in 1824 for the future third Earl Fitzwilliam, and the last section in 1912 for the eighth Earl of Granard.
Speaking about the house back in 2010, Marsh & Parsons boss Peter Rollings said: “A property such as this is extraordinarily rare; it is very, very special and a most extraordinary place.”
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