THE cost of parking in town can be steep, but even in central London £21m seems beyond the pale. That, however, is what a Middle Eastern royal has paid for an underground garage in Knightsbridge to house his collection of 80 supercars and classic models.
The new owner, one of a contingent of Gulf billionaires snapping up parts of the capital’s most desirable districts, is acquiring an old NCP car park that had already had a rich man’s makeover. For his money he will get super-wide parking bays to prevent unfortunate door clashes, pillars padded in Armaflex insulating foam to prevent unseemly scrapes, numberplate recognition technology on entry and CCTV throughout.
The car park, a stone’s throw from Harrods, used to be run by Waterbridge Estates, which oversaw the sale. Motorists paid up to £35,000 a year to keep their cars there, and spaces sold for as much as £450,000; owners were promised an army of security guards, valets and chauffeurs as well as pyjamas for their cars in the form of handmade, peach-coloured vehicle covers. As an added bonus, the car park is just outside the London congestion zone.
Waterbridge said the new buyer had secured a bargain. “The value of his collection is significantly higher than the price he has paid for the parking,” it added. The deal is one of the most valuable parking-related transactions yet recorded in Britain and certainly the most anyone has paid for a private parking facility, he added. “A car park in central London is being sold for more than entire streets and villages outside the capital’s centre,” Waterbridge admitted, “and yet even upper-middle-class generations are finding it impossible to rent in London, let alone purchase in their lifetime.”
Knightsbridge and Kensington residents have long been frustrated by Arab boy racers who bring their supercars to the UK in the summer and drive them at high speed through the narrow streets, often racking up thousands of pounds of fines.
This article first appeared in The Times