London building gets its swagger back

The Life: Cambridge House in London's Mayfair comes at a price of £250 million and loads of history.

The former In and Out Club is yours for £250m. Richard Watt for The National
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Named after a duke, Cambridge House in London's West End has had many a society name visit during its heyday as a mansion and later as a club.

After a period of neglect, its new billionaire owners are reconverting it into a residence and the building is expected to be among the first properties to return the area around Piccadilly to a super-prime residential address.

The premises comes with a price tag of £250 million (Dh1.39 billion), making it more than 1,500 times more expensive than the average home sold in England and Wales, according to Wetherell, a real estate agency in London's Mayfair.

The house at 94 Piccadilly was built for Earl of Egremont Charles Wyndham in 1761. The mansion with a private driveway was the address of the Duke of Cambrige between 1829 and 1850, and that of a prime minister Lord Palmerston from 1855 to 1865.

Between 1865 and 1999 Cambridge House was known as the In and Out Club when it was owned for most of the time by the Naval and Military Club. In 1996, the entrepreneur Simon Halabi took over the ownership but the premises fell into disrepair after the club moved to a new location.

In 2011, the billionaire brothers Simon and David Reuben bought the property. The brothers, who were born in India to Iraqi parents, are together valued at US$10.5bn, according to Forbes in March.

And thanks to their wealth, Cambridge House is set for a big overhaul.

"Due to the bombing of the City in WWII, the houses of Mayfair and Belgravia were turned into offices, embassies and clubs," says Peter Wetherell of Wetherell Estates on the company's website.

"Now, with the offices and embassies relocating south of the river to the commercial and embassy quarter of Nine Elms, the buildings in Mayfair and Belgravia are being freed up to take on their original role as beautiful grand homes."

The brothers have won approval to develop the property into a 60,600 square foot mansion complete with 48 rooms, a 35,000 bottle wine cellar and an underground swimming complex. But prospective buyers will have to wait; the transformation is expected to take up to four years to complete.