Sunday 25 September 2016

Abramovich plan to build €68m mega NY mansion shot down

Dean Gray

Published 08/04/2016 | 02:30

The interior of one of the three Manhattan properties in New York bought by Roman Abramovich and his partner Dasha Zhukova. Efforts to convert them into a luxury home have been rejected.
The interior of one of the three Manhattan properties in New York bought by Roman Abramovich and his partner Dasha Zhukova. Efforts to convert them into a luxury home have been rejected.
The interior of one of the three Manhattan properties in New York bought by Roman Abramovich and his partner Dasha Zhukova. Efforts to convert them into a luxury home have been rejected.

Roman Abramovich's plans to develop a $77m (€68m) mega mansion in Manhattan have been rejected and branded "a whole new level of egregious consumption".

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The Chelsea owner was told by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission that his proposal to turn three landmarked townhouses into one property was an "unjustified tear-down".

The board - who must give approval before the development goes ahead - also said it would "erase a significant piece of history" and would "set a terrible precedent".

Mr Abramovich was told by the group of historians and architects that there was "more than a dollars and cents price tag when one purchases history".

Over the course of the past 18 months, Mr Abramovich has paid a combined $77m to buy 11, 13, and 15 East 75th St with the intention of turning them into a mega mansion.

They are two Queen Anne-style terraced houses built in 1887-89. The other property was built in the Queen Anne style in 1887-89 and redesigned in the neo-Federal style in 1923.

The application by Mr Abramovich, who is worth €7bn, is to carry out extensive renovations and to turn them all into a single 18,000sq ft five-storey home.

The 49-year-old Russian wants to completely replace the front facade of one building, remove the party walls separating all three buildings and add a rooftop garden and a cellar.

The rear would be overhauled to a bronze and glass design with gigantic bushes running from top to bottom, known as green walls.

Inside there would be four bedrooms, a pool and sauna in the basement, an 'arts room', a library, a dining room on the first floor, a garden pavilion on the roof - and a hydraulic elevator.

The New York City Department of Buildings has already rejected his plans and at a hearing the Landmarks Preservation Commission said no too.

None of the Landmarks commissioners supported his plans and instead Mr Abramovich, who was not at the hearing, received a torrent of criticism.

At the end of the meeting, the committee took no action, meaning that Mr Abramovich's developers have to come up with a revised proposal which will be examined at a later date.

Mr Abramovich had similar problems when he set out to develop his £100m (€123m) 17th century mansion in Kensington, West London overlooking the Thames.

It took three years before he was allowed to spend €12m knocking three properties together into one on Cheyne Walk, one of London's most expensive streets, and home to the likes of Mick Jagger.

Residents feared they would lose light and that the development would cause a disturbance.

Irish Independent

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