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World’s costliest flat on sale for 140 mn pounds

London, Aug 22 (Calcutta Tube) A house with bullet-proof windows, a highly-secured ‘panic room’, and guards trained by Britain’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) forces is expected to sell for 140 million pound, making it the most expensive flat in the world.

It boasts a penthouse view over Central London, a private wine-tasting facility and an underground passage to a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, Daily Mail reported.

There is a tunnel to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – where TV chef Blumenthal will soon open his first London restaurant – to allow residents access to 24-hour room service.

Sports car-maker McLaren is also opening a showroom on the ground floor putting its Formula-1 cars on display. And should the residents feel the need to venture outside, the local ‘corner shops’ include Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

Costing more than 6,000 pounds per square foot, the two-floor apartment in the One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge block has floor-to-ceiling windows, its own car park and access to a host of spas and squash courts.

The residence has security features including bullet-proof windows, SAS-trained security guards, an air purifier to frustrate poison gas attacks and a ‘panic room’ where the owners can retreat in safety in case of being targeted by kidnappers or robbers.

More than 50 full-time staff will work at the 86 flats in the building constructed with fifteen different types of stone from Turkey, Italy, France, Belgium, Brazil, China and Egypt.

All the flats will feature eye-scanners in their private lifts to prevent unwanted intruders. The building is heated using geothermal bore holes sunk 450 feet to extract heat from the Earth’s crust.

So far flat sales total more than 870 million pounds at the site – with about a third still to be sold.

The stamp duty alone on the penthouse flat, at 4 percent, will cost 5.6 million pounds.

Another penthouse was bought for 100 million pounds by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani. The previous most expensive flat was valued at 115 million pounds in a rival Central London development at St James’s Square in 2008.

Trevor Abrahamson of estate agent Glentree Estates said of the latest sale: ‘This is a huge price. In the last six months we have sold more trophy properties than we have in the last two years. One minute there was an over-supply and then there was a shortage. Prices are high.’

While the identity of the new owner is shrouded in secrecy, the usual super-rich suspects of Russian oligarchs and Arab billionaires are in the frame.

A quarter of buyers in the block are Middle Eastern, while one third are European. Around 65 percent of all the properties in the block – due to open later this year – have been sold.

The property, designed by architect Lord (Richard) Rogers’s firm, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, is being marketed by developer brothers Christian and Nick Candy. They bought the site, formerly occupied by a grim 1950s office block, for 150 million pounds in 2004.

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