Monday, February 28, 2011

Billionaire Bernie Ecclestone Wants to Unload in Chelsea

SELLER: Bernie Ecclestone
LOCATION: London, U.K.
PRICE: £14,000,000
SIZE: 4,175 square feet 3-4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Itty-bitty British billionaire Bernie Ecclestone may indeed be a controversial character with an Andy Warhol style hair-don't he's also a real estate baller. Once upon a time, in the not so distant real estate past, the bantam billionaire paid a panty-knotting and eye-popping £50,000,000 for an immense pile in Central London that overlooks London's Kensington Palace and previously served as both the Russian and Egyptian embassies.

However and alas, his then wife, a much younger 6-foot 2-inch former Armani model from Croatia named Slavica , apparently didn't care much for the palatial pad and reportedly refused–or declined–to move into the house that includes 20-car underground parking and a private damn hair salon. Word to the wise: It's best to consult your spouse when spending 70 or eighty million smackers on a new house. In 2004, three years after buying but never occupying the 15-bedroom beast, the Formula One race car honcho sold the the place at a significant profit for £57,000,000 to steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. Brace yourselves butter beans because according to our trusty currency conversion contraption that works itself out to a stratospheric $91,835,000 at today's rates, a figure that does not read as the price of a private residence but rather the GDP of an impoverished country.

Theirs was a cliché romance and marriage–she a striking young filly with a taste for the good life and he a petite billionaire old enough to be her father and with money to burn–but it endured an impressive 24 years and produced a pair of statuesque daughters. Mister and Missus Ecclestone publicly split in 2008 and the following year spun through the court of dee-vorce where Missus Ecclestone became ex-Missus Ecclestone and received a settlement rumored and widely reported to be in range of a billion bucks. Not such bad work if you can get it, no?
As far as Your Mama knows–and we really know so very little–Mister Ecclestone's primary residence in London remains the staid if somewhat mousy-looking mansion (above) that overlooks upscale Chelsea Square. Mister Ecclestone's mansion happens to be directly across the street from a converted art school building where he owns a lavish cond0-crib that recently reappeared on the market with an asking price of £14,000,000. That's $22,556,000 at today's rates for all us folks the good ol' U.S. of A.

The big-spending octogenarian billionaire reportedly paid £6,875,000 for the first-floor spread in June of 2006. A few quick calculations shows that comes to 11,076,600 U.S. bucks at today's rates. The apartment was previously reported to have been occasionally used by ex-Missus Ecclestone and the former couple's towering twenty-something year daughters Petra and Tamara. A little more on the real estate shenanigans of those globe-trotting glamazons to come.

Listing information and marketing materials for the Mister Ecclestone's contemporary condo show it measures a mini-mansion-sized 4,175 square feet and includes 3-4 bedrooms and 4.5 poopers. Although the apartment is only on the first floor–that's the second floor for all us posies across the pond–two elevators open directly into a gracious but far from grand entrance hall.

The main living spaces include an oddly-shaped but quite commodious reception room that stretches 37-feet at its widest point and has dark hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves, a fireplace and a series of floor to-ceiling windows and French doors that open to a terrace at the back of the building. The adjacent formal dining room was done-up by the nice, gay decorator in what we think of as a South Beach boo-teek hotel-style. The walls are painted with the identical shade of dusty-blush as the floor to ceiling draperies that help but do not completely disguise the wonky shape of the room.

The clean-lined eat-in kitchen has plenty of room for a private chef to whip up a gourmet meal for 20 and includes integrated appliances, a separate utility room and pantry and a television mounted between the two large windows that overlook Manresa Road. The muted palette of gray counter tops and striated chocolate and caramel colored cabinetry gets anemically enlivened with a trio of baby-blue stools pulled up to the large work island lit by a couple of chandeliers that look a little like jellyfish or, perhaps, space ships beaming cones of light down on earth.

Two modest-size guest rooms with windows on the street-side of the building each have well-appointed but, unfortunately, windowless en suite facilities. The sizable master suite contains a long entrance hall off of which are a large bedroom, custom-fitted closet and dressing room plus additional closets and storage space, a pair of über-luxe but windowless bathrooms and an adjacent room that could be used as an office, sitting room, gym, Pilates studio, or as a small-ish.

The swanky condo is fitted with all the high-tech hoo-has and doo-dads one can expect in a recently renovated London residence that costs twenty-something million bucks. These features include, according to listing information, an integrated music/television system, electronically controlled curtains and blinds, air conditioning and filtration systems, and radiant heat throughout. The condo comes complete with two private parking spots and the fancy building offers large communal gardens and 24-hour porterage, which means wealthy residents of the building need never carry groceries or baggage from their car to their condo. The yearly fees associated with the unit amount to a reported £60,000 per year. That's nearly eight U.S. smackers per month. Lawhd, people, it makes Your Mama's weak heart skip a damn beat to think of coughing up eight grand a month just so we didn't have to open up the door to the damn building or carry our own groceries.

Both Mister Ecclestone's Chelsea Square mansion and his condominium across the street are mere real estate child's play when it comes to the residential circumstances of his young socialite daughters Petra and Tamara. The elder Ecclestone off-spring, 26-year old Tamara, is reported to be on the precipice of the purchase of a £45,000,000 property in Kensington Palace Gardens, the same swish and super-secure enclave in Central London as the above mentioned monster-manse that Lakshmi Mittal bought from Poppa Ecclestone a few years back. That's a heart-stopping $72,501,300 for all us Americanos. Young Miss Ecclestone–who already owns a behemoth bachelorette pad in hoity-toity Belgravia, and her live-in stockbroker man-beau–will soon be hosting backyard barbecues for the slew of neighboring billionaires who include a Saudiroyal or two, Russian-American business tycoonLeonard Blavatnik and British real estate mogul Jonathan Hunt.

When Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter moved into our far more modest Hollywood Hills abode the neighbors were all very sweet and brought over welcoming gestures such as a tin of home made cookies or a bottle of wine. What, pray tell, does one bring over as a housewarming gift to a 26-year old girl with a 70+ million dollar house? A Mercedes? An Hermès Birkin bag? A minimum-wage worker whose salary is paid up for a year?
In December of 2010 word slipped down the international real estate gossip grapevine that the younger Ecclestone daughter, 22-year old Petra, shelled out a knee-buckling and equilibrium-upsetting £66,000,000 to acquire Sloane House, a monumental Grade II-listed mansion near London's natty and nabobish Sloane Square. That, chickdereeos, amounts to well over $100,000,000 at today's currency conversion rates. When she completes renovations and moves into the mall-sized her new neighbors will reportedly include Mick Jagger, Jemima Khan and Elizabeth Hurley.

Believe it or not, hunnies, Mister Ecclestone has publicly insisted that his daughters, neither of whom appear to have jobs, are not spoiled. Bitch, pleeze. It's your money to spend as you wish Mister Ecclestone, but we beg to differ. Any 22-year old gal with a seventy million dollar house the size of a tsarist-palace paid for by mumsy and daddy is unquestionably and irretrievably spoiled. There really are not two ways about that Mister Ecclestone. There just isn't.

There are scads of reports that suggest that in addition to his London property holdings Mister Ecclestone also owns the so-called Chalet Le Lion in Switzerland's glittery aprés-ski resort of Gstaad. We would be shocked clean out of our Chelsea boots if that was the extent of his personal property portfolio.

exterior photo: Knight Harwood
interior listing photos: Aylesford
photo (Sloane House): Beauchamp Estates

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