Thursday, March 10, 2011

Forbes Family Lightens Real Estate Load in London

SELLER: Forbes family
LOCATION: London, U.K.
PRICE: £12,000,000

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listing pictures are slim but, as first reported in the Financial Times last week, the U.S.-based Forbes family have put Old Battersea House, their historic and dignified outpost in London's Battersea, on the market with an asking price of £12,000,000. A quick consult with our currency conversion contraption shows that amounts to $19,413,500US at today's rates.

The Forbes family's considerable fortune is largely derived from publishing and they are best known for their eponymous magazine that publishes fascinating lists of the world's wealthiest individuals and other financial information both important and trivial.

The sprawling Forbes clan has opted to unload Old Battersea House as part of the family's planning to ensure the family's wealth is secure for future generations. Listing information shows that the Grade II listed mansion sits right on the Thames Rivers–or at least, right across the road from the Thames–and includes a baroque hallway, wide staircase, 5 reception rooms that include a paneled drawing room or two, oak doors and floors, a modernized kitchen and a total of 10 double bedrooms and an unknown number of terliting and bathing facilities, at least one of which is equipped with a spa tub and sauna.

Malcolm Forbes, a man known for his glittery lifestyle, jet-setting friends and down-low homosexual proclivities, acquired the walled and gated property in the early 1970s. It was in a serious state of disrepair having empty for five long years during which part of the roof fell in. The Forbes family hired architect Vernon Gibberd who spent four years rescuing and restoring the gorgeous Georgian-style manor house that was built in the late 17th century on Tudor foundations.

Over the years the wealthy Forbes family hosted a slew of dinners and parties attended by dignitaries (Margaret Thatcher, Ronald and Nancy Reagan), financiers (Warren Buffet) celebrities (Elizabeth Taylor) and various members of the royal family.

In addition of their desire to divest their portfolio of Old Battersea House, the Forbes family also plans to sell off a well-regarded collection of British artworks housed in Old Battersea House that includes works by Thomas Gainsborough and a collection of Royal memorabilia that includes a number of portraits of Royals and a pair of Queen Victoria's under panties.

Although Your Mama is far from an expert on the London property market, Old Battersea House seems to be in a slightly less than desirable location for someone with twenty million bucks to lay out for a 10 bedroom manor house. Although Battersea Park is cycling distance and the London Heliport is walking distance, the property is surrounded by apartment houses where perfectly ordinary one and two bedroom flats can be had for well under £300,000, around $500,000US. That's hardly chopped liver but it is not, Your Mama thinks we can all agree, even on the same real estate playing field as Old Battersea House.

listing photos: Savills

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