An ultra-high-net-worth individual with a sweet spot for Harrods has spent £18 million on a six-bedroom apartment in what was once the retailer’s bakery and chocolate factory.
The buyer is a ‘multi-millionaire from mainland Europe’ who wanted a pied-à-terre close to the world-famous department store, according to Beauchamp Estates, which handled the sale. The transaction represents one of the biggest London apartment sales of 2023 and illustrates the strength of the Harrods brand overseas, as buyers pay above market average for proximity to the store.
‘Some years ago Harrods undertook a survey with research firm Dataloft called “The Harrods Effect”, which showed, by analysing average property values around the store that there was a significant 20 per cent price premium within the neighbourhood that rises the closer a property is located to Harrods,’ explains Rosy Khalastchy, director at Beauchamp Estates.
‘Harrods department store is world famous, and it is no coincidence that some of London’s most prestigious serviced super-luxury apartment buildings have been built nearby. These include the Harrods Depository building [where the apartment is located], One Hyde Park, The Knightsbridge and One Hans Crescent. Without a doubt there is both a cachet and a price premium for living close to the Harrods store.’
The brand is aware of the power of its international appeal. Harrods Interior Design Studio recently partnered with London luxury residential development Thames City on a number of designer-decorated show homes, many of which have been sold to overseas buyers. Harrods is seeking to capitalise on the Asian market by opening its first private members’ club, The Residence, in Shanghai.
A modern apartment with a Harrods history
The duplex apartment boasts double-height ceilings and features spatial living accommodation across 6,404 sq ft. There is an impressive entrance hall, three reception rooms, kitchen/breakfast room complete with terrace and an additional room to be used as a home gym, exercise studio or bedroom. On the second floor there are luxurious bedroom suites. The principal suite is palatial, with twin walk-in dressing rooms and twin ensuite bathrooms.
The building itself is a relic of British retail history. The Harrods Depository was originally erected by Mowlem & Co in 1913-1914 and opened in 1920, designed by C.W. Stephens, the architect of the Harrods store across the street on Brompton Road.
The Depository was designed as a sister building to the Harrods store – the two look almost identical – and served as director’s offices, warehousing and the production of Harrods own-brand goods, including luxury food, teas and beverages.
On the fourth and fifth floors of the depositary – now the site of the duplex apartment – was the Harrods Bakery and Chocolate Factory, which produced luxury chocolates, easter eggs, cakes and pastries sold in the Harrods Store, as well as VIP commissions for British and international royals. The factory operated between the 1920s and 1970s.
At the turn of the millennium, the depository was converted into 40 apartments. The building benefits from a covered parking complex, landscaped residents’ courtyard garden, ground floor hotel-style entrance foyers and 24-hour uniformed security and concierge. With its Harrods façade, the building is the closest thing a buyer can get to living in the actual Harrods store.
Jeremy Gee, Managing Director of Beauchamp Estates said: ‘Beauchamp Estates is delighted to have sold this magnificent duplex apartment, created out of the former Harrods Bakery & Chocolate Factory, located in the Harrods Depository on Trevor Square, one of the most sought-after super-prime apartment buildings in Knightsbridge, literally adjacent to the Harrods store. The six-bedroom duplex apartment offers extensive living space with grand proportions throughout and has a fantastic history as the former bakery and confectionary factory where Harrods own-brand fresh bakery, luxury chocolates and Easter eggs were prepared and stored.’
The international appeal of luxury lateral living
Khalastchy noted luxury, lateral apartments have enjoyed a rebound in popularity a few years post-Covid, after the restrictions of the pandemic sparked a rush on ultra-prime detached homes.
She tells Spear’s: ‘Beauchamp Estates has sold almost £100 million of ultra-prime London residential property to buyers from three key countries, the United States, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. In each case, the buyers have chosen to purchase luxury lateral apartments, many within luxury serviced apartment buildings like the former Harrods Depository on Trevor Square… This year we have seen a return in demand for lateral apartment living from ultra-high-net-worth clients from around the world buying homes in London.’
Such homes provide a touch of familiarity to expats used to apartment living.
‘A lot of international buyers purchasing homes in London are used to living in either super-luxury serviced apartment buildings or in residential schemes with hotel style amenities,’ she continues. This is why we have seen a rising demand for branded residences like The OWO Residences by Raffles scheme in London’s Whitehall, The Bulgari Hotel & Residences in Knightsbridge and Twenty Grosvenor Square, a Four Seasons Residence are all good examples of how more Dubai style branded residential schemes are being built in London to meet this rising demand.’