Bidding War on London's Oldest Carpark

Mayfair’s oldest car park is being put up for sale this week in a move set to trigger a bidding frenzy for the “once in a lifetime” chance to build new luxury apartments in London’s most elite neighbourhood.

Property experts believe that the half acre site on Carrington Street near Hyde Park Corner could be worth at least £500 million when fully developed.

It is one of the last brownfield “blank canvases” in Mayfair and will allow developers to create homes with rare views across Green Park.

A sales brochure seen by the Standard suggests that options include conversion into a casino, private members club and hotel complex or one of London’s largest boutique art galleries as well as new homes.

The car park, originally known as the Electromobile Garage when it was first built in 1907, is being sold by US fund manager Blackstone, which has appointed agents DTZ and Savills.

It was previously owned by an Israeli company, Delek Real Estate, which closed down during the financial crisis.

Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Mayfair agents Wetherell, said the car park was the “last piece of the jigsaw” in the transformation of the Shepherds Market area, once notorious as Mayfair’s seedy red light district.

He said: “In the last 10 years Shepherds Market has undergone an incredible transformation. At its lowest point a decade ago it was a seedy sister to Soho, and a hangout for Park Lane prostitutes, run down cafes and plant hire shops. The flats that did exist were all tired and outdated and Shepherds Market is where the super-rich of North Mayfair housed their staff who couldn’t stay in the staff wing of their mansions. Now the location has been completely transformed.

“What we have seen on Mount Street further North in Mayfair is now being replicated in Shepherds Market. There’s a host of luxury residential development going on and residential values, retail rents and lettings values are all rising in the local area.” The site is close to Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street private members’ club.

The sale comes just week after Phones4U tycoon John Caudwell revealed plans to knock down the Audley Street car park in Mayfair and build a luxury homes complex that could be worth as much as £2 billion.

While there is no planning permission in place for the 60,000 square feet car park and land on Carrington Street, the architect behind Google’s planned King’s Cross HQ- Allford Hall Monaghan Morris has drawn up three initial proposals for converting the space into a luxury development.

Agents believe the site could attract as much as £20 billion worth of bids from investors from countries such as Russia, Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia and America.. Competition will be fierce because it is becoming increasingly rare to buy in the elite W1 postcode zone, where landlords will typically hold onto their assets.

Just 91 of 251 buildings over 20,000 square feet in the postcode have the potential to be bought and sold, according to real estate business GVA.

Photo by Lucy Young

Article from Daily Mail Online, Joanna Bourke, Jonathon Prynn