Mayfair in the1950’s saw the demolition of all the Georgian mansions on the western side of the world’s most famous square and construction started on a modernistic new building designed by Eero Saarinen, a Finish American architect.
The American Embassy London Chancery Building in Grosvenor Square opened in 1960 after moving from 1 Grosvenor Square and featured, a large guilded aluminum bald eagle by Theodore Roszak, with a wing span of over 11 meters (35 feet) towering atop the building.
The 1980s, 1990s and 2000s saw increasing levels of security and the huge loss of community use for Mayfair residents of the surrounding area.
Now in 2017 the US Embassy moves south of the River Thames to Nine Elms and this not only presents an opportunity for that area in urban renewal but a whole new era for Grosvenor Square and probably its most exciting evolution since the 1920s demolition of mansions into mansion apartments.
Personal Note: “Misguided Judgement Call No.2” – In the late 2000s when controversy was at it highest over where the Americans would move to; “The Mayfair Guru” opinionated that the Embassy building “would never be listed”.
In October 2009, the building was granted Grade II listed status! However its preservation has led to what is now an amazing opportunity to create a flagship development.
Prominent British architect, Sir David Chipperfield has been commissioned by Qatari Diar to breathe new life into this significant mid-20th century listed building and reinstate this building as the heart of Grosvenor Square and Mayfair.
Reimagined in the spirit of its pioneering architect Eero Saarinen, the design retains the unique external façade, while putting forward a mixed use development to include a hotel, retail and event space. The proposal includes 137 guest rooms, 5 restaurants, 6 flagship retail units, a spa and a 1,000 person ballroom.
The plans include significant public realm improvements which restore permeability to both the building and the square, bring down the existing security bollards and barricades, and transform Grosvenor Square into the heart of Mayfair. Working in partnership with the Grosvenor Estate, this plan will lead to further public realm works to improve the setting of the square as an open, expansive green space for residents and visitors to enjoy.
A public exhibition will run from the 11th to 16th April at 24 Grosvenor Hill. The proposal is due to be submitted to Westminster City Council in May.
OPPORTUNITIES IN GROSVENOR SQUARE
DESERT ISLAND DISCS
In the current Prime Central London (PCL) residential market – if I had to chose two of my songs for my appearance on the BBC radio program “Desert Island Disks” then No.1 would be by Billy Ocean and No.2 by The Clash.
No.1 – “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”
No. 2 – “Should I stay or should I go”
MILLIONAIRES MOVE OUT?
In a recent report – more “Millionaires are moving out of London and those moving in are 10% of the previous year”. The number of millionaires moving to London from overseas slowed dramatically last year, new research reveals.
A net 500 millionaires moved into the capital in 2015 compared with 6,000 the previous year, according to wealth specialists New World Wealth’s annual Millionaire Migration report.
2014, saw around 7,500 individuals with $1m assets or more (excluding their primary residence) moving to London whilst 1,500 left. However, that number more than halved to 3,000 last year, with almost the just as many (2,500) leaving.
I believe that the blame can quite literally be laid on the doorstep of 11 Downing Street and Chancellor George Osborne’s tax changes over the last 24 months.
Increased transactional costs, higher annual carrying costs – coupled with a wider tax net for capital gains and death duties has resulted in only the long term buyer now interested in central London.
It would appear that we are no longer proud that the world wants to “invest” in London.
In this reduced transactional market, it is the prime properties and prime areas that become the focus of attention. Mayfair with its return to residential and exciting pipeline of new development stock is now one of the most sought after areas in PCL offering choice and investment potential.
That is why I chose my first record – when times are tougher – prime sells.
NON-DOMS: SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
My second choice relates to “Non-Doms” and it is why Wetherell have linked up with a boutique private client law firm of top-tier lawyers based in London.
London may be becoming less and less attractive to non-doms with ever changing tax rules – BUT is now the right time for a move to warmer climates?
Have you considered whether your home should become your investment or whether it is time to cut your ties?
Since April 2015 whether you live in the UK or overseas you will be liable for capital gains tax when you sell your property if it is not your only home.
From April 2017 there will be an even bigger shift in the treatment of non-doms: two major changes being that if you have lived in the UK for more than 15 years then you will no longer get the tax benefits that a non-dom has until now enjoyed – you will be treated as if you are domiciled here.
In addition if your property is owned by an offshore company, that company will be transparent for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes, bringing a large number of London properties into the scope of IHT (at a rate of 40% on death).
WHY RESIDENTIAL MAYFAIR: 90% GROWTH SINCE 2007
However, Mayfair has seen a percentage value growth of about 90% since 2007 and Wetherell see prime Mayfair residential property prices continuing to increase as more newly developed stock comes to market.
That makes your property in Mayfair more than just a home; it is now a valuable investment. I believe that Mayfair is experiencing its most important decade in nearly a century – I call it:
MAYFAIR’S GOLDEN DECADE: Decisions will need to be made as to the benefit of keeping such assets which could potentially generate a great return on historical investment value (ROI) versus cutting your ties all together within the UK tax net.”
That is why we have looked for assistance from a firm of lawyers that carries the same “boutique”, specialist principles as Wetherell.
The City firm, Maurice Turner Gardner, has been offering its services since 1 May 2009 following the demerger of Allen & Overy LLP’s highly-rated Private Client Department. MTP continues to work closely and in association with Allen & Overy LLP and can assist Wetherell and our clients for decisions on “should I stay or should I go”.
Without sounding more like a doctor than a guru – please call me to arrange an initial consultation on 020 7529 5560 or reply by email.
As we have recently seen a number of our Mayfair residents look to Dubai as home, we have travelled there extensively and identified developments of a quality for comparison on the world stage and not just Dubai.
Three developments stand out – one in Downtown, one by The Marina and one on The Palm.
Two of the developments are nearing completion and offer build quality, layouts and size of accommodation rarely seen