The ambition, Shelton explains, is to make Knightsbridge known not just for luxury shopping, but also as a place to live, work and linger. “As long-term owners in the area, it was important to us that we made a positive contribution to the Knightsbridge resident community as well as its strong visitor numbers,” he explains.
To make life easy for residents, most of the apartments are being delivered as turnkey properties. This means that as well as being fully furnished, all the little luxury extras await your arrival, from the Byredo hand soap beside the sink to the books on your bedside table, as conceived by interior design practice Taylor Howes.
The theme of one coffee-table tome, A Cloud a Day: 365 Skies from the Cloud Appreciation Society, chimes neatly with the nature-themed motifs that Taylor Howes subtly peppers throughout the apartments.
It’s true plug-in-and-play luxury for the super-rich. Just bring your suitcases — and your golf clubs, should you wish. There are acres of storage space tucked away in every apartment as these are homes designed to be lived in, not left empty, says Shelton, pointing out a large cupboard that’s calling out for golfing accoutrements. Should you need to stock up, there’s a branch of Castore just downstairs.
The apartments will be rented on a minimum two-year lease, so that tenants will use them as homes rather than short-let serviced apartments. The aim, says Shelton, is to make this a “lights on” development, unlike many super-prime schemes that are shrouded in darkness at night due to high numbers of overseas owners who are rarely in residence.
Renting at this level is a “lifestyle choice”, comments Salari, and dressing properties down to the towels and teaspoons isn’t unusual; it’s the icing on the cake, offering renters ultimate ease and convenience. This is popular with some local downsizers, says Shelton, and is also attractive to overseas individuals or families (many from the United States, currently) who lack the time or inclination to deal with furnishing a home.
Build to rent for multi-millionaires is a rare beast, however. While it’s a thriving concept in more mid-market, young professional hubs such as Canary Wharf, whose transient population has yet to get a foothold on the property ladder, this is Knightsbridge, an enclave synonymous with Ferraris and Aston Martins, luxury boutiques and HNW overseas families seeking proximity to a certain green corner shop or wanting to spend time near their children at UK boarding schools or universities.