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www.wmfd.com - With each property costing tens of millions of dollars, London's so-called "Billionaire's Row" is the epitome of wealth and status, but some of the grand-looking houses are very different when you get a peek inside, so Isa Soares explores what one property developer calls a very expensive wasteland. }}" />

   
 
 
Expensive Wasteland On Billionaire's Row In London

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 3/2/2014

With each property costing tens of millions of dollars, London's so-called "Billionaire's Row" is the epitome of wealth and status. But some of the grand-looking houses are very different when you get a peek inside. Isa Soares explores what one property developer calls a very expensive wasteland. It's one of Britain's most exclusive streets, and the ultimate status symbol. But behind the well guarded gates, Billionaire's Row hides a shabby secret. A third of the nearly 70 properties on this road currently lie empty, long abandoned, derelict. and falling into ruin. This mansion, better known as The Tower, is one of many vacant on this North London street. Not that you would be able to tell from the outside. "This mansion was built 25 years ago," says CNN's Isa Soares. "It was owned by a middle eastern family. But believe it or not, it has never been lived in. Instead it has been left to rot, completely abandoned, the painting has peeled off, the water from the roof is sipping through and the moss has taken hold of what has become a derelict shell. "And this is only one of several houses on this road that have been left in this appalling condition." But even in this sorry state, it will still set you back at least 40-million pounds. "They buy it and then they struggle with planning, they struggle with building it." Anil Varma, the property developer in charge of six of these empty mansions, tells me in some cases, buyers expect their mansions to be built quickly. But a planning process that took longer than buyers expected made many abandon their projects. "It's really sad to see a property like this in such a prominent part of London left in this state, isn't it?" asked Soares. "It is. It's a very expensive derelict wasteland in my view and something needs to be done about it," says Varma. So the hedge fund for which Varma works, is hoping to convert these decaying mansions, home now to only birds and mice, into modern luxury apartments. "Our job is actually to try to get planning consent to build something different here," says Varma. "Ideally smaller properties, dare I say more affordable, London is a very expensive place. " "When you say affordable, how affordable?" asked Soares. "Affordable to local buyers with properties still worth 3-4-5 million pounds," Varma said. "So, not for first time buyers," Soares said. Despite the numerous houses that have been abandoned on this road Bishop's Avenue remains one of the most popular roads for the wealthiest to park their money. This property is currently on the market for some 40 million pounds, that's just a bit over, $65-million. The estate agent showing me around... " You have a his and her bathroom and dressing room so you don't have to fight for the basin," says Trevor Abrahamsohn, founder of Glentree Estates. ... tells me he's confident that potential buyers won't be put off by the crumbling houses nearby. "Bishops Avenue is an iconic road," says Abrahamsohn. "It ranks alongside Rodeo Drive, Wall Street and the best known addresses in the world. I don't think the incoming investor actually gives a damn how many properties are in a state of flux. "Every time there has been a political uprising in the world, or some explosion of wealth, London is the mecca that they choose to come." With property prices in London upover 11-percent last year, there's good reason to put your cash here, even if you decide it's not worth living in.

   
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