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Villa Leopolda: the House for the Billionaire

Sunday, 29 November 2009

villa leopoldaLéopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor von Habsburg-Lothringen aka Léopold II, was born on 9 April 1835 in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. He is the eldest son of Léopold I, first king of the Belgians. In 1900 when the monarch was 65, he visited the World Exhibition held in Paris where he purchased three souvenirs. Among them two are here in Brussels - the Chinese Pavilion and the Japanese Tower. The Chinese Pavilion styled as the Chinese temple tower by the architect Marcel with the interior decorated under the style of French Kings, could be the perfect restaurant. The Japanese Tower is the real Japanese temple brought from the Land of Rising Sun for the exhibition specially. How did they get them here from Paris? They were dismantled, delivered to Brussels and re-built again, while the third souvenir was too far complicated just to dismantle and install again.

The point is that the third souvenir that was brought by the monarch of Belgium from flamboyant Paris was Blanche Zélia Joséphine Delacroix who was only 17 that time. She was the daughter to the graphic designer from Lille who worked as the concierge in Paris. Blanche is said to have been unofficially created Baroness de Vaughan in Belgium and held the official place next to Léopold II.

In 1902 Léopold's official spouse dies, the Queen Marie Henriette Anne von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduchess of Austria, and the King (you think, he was too inconsolable with the young Blanche, Baroness de Vaughan?), purchased the land in Villefranche-sur-Mer at Cote d`Azur, next to Monte Carlo. The King intended to construct a summer palace for his beauty lover who was said to distinguish with vulgarity typical to a real daughter of concierge, though she was single-hearted, and was believed to care of the King tenderly. Moreover, Blanche Delacroix was 19 when Léopold was 67, he was at the age when the saying ‘no fool like an old fool' is too actual, even for the Kings.

Baroness de Vaughan gave birth to a baby, called Lucien Philippe Marie Antoine, for the King in 1906 who was titled as Lucien Duke of Tervuren, and in 1907 she delivered another son who was given the title of Philippe Count of Ravenstein. In the meantime the summer palace was being constructed and the King married to his lover in 1909 when he was 75 and she was only 26. However, the King's dream to live a quiet life with his morganatic family in the best part of France did not come ever true. Léopold II died in a few days after he married Blanche, and his love place villa leopoldawas never constructed for her.

Ogden Codman, the new owner to that wonderful land, caused the palace constructed in 1931, though the title «royal» was so much stuck to the place that the palace was at all times called Villa Leopolda whoever bought the place. The same we know about it.

In 1952 Villa Leopolda was bought by the founder of the concern Fiat, by Janny Agnelli for $100 thousand USD and in 1980 the banker from Lebanon, Edmond Safra paid $3 million USD for the Villa. The place was good to welcome Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra.

Unfortunately, Edmond Safra died in 1999 during the fire in his place in Monaco. As rumors say, the fire was caused by the Russian mafia, as if he was killed and then the house set to fire to hide all relations. There are no true evidences only rumors about the accident. And the Villa was now possessed by the banker's widow, Lily Safra, one of the wealthiest women in the world. And last, in 2008, the world was stroke with the news that Villa Leopolda is on sale again.

Daily Express of Britain announced that Roman Abramovich bought the villa for $500 million USD for Darya Zhukova as the wedding present. Nevertheless, the press service of the billionaire disclaimed the news in The Independent stating that the Russian oligarch acquired a house in France, that is Chateau-de-la-Cros, a villa in the French Riviera, and Abramovich does not need another villa.

Nice-Matin, the French Newspaper, announced that Mikhail Prokhorov was about to purchase the Villa and he offered 496 million Euros, that is $730 million USD for the place and he was said to make down payment. The price offered for the place made the Villa one of the most expensive houses in the world. Some time ago the amount of 57 million Euros that is $130 million USD was paid by the Indian Steel Magnate Lakshmi Niwas Mittal in 2004 for the real estate in Kensington Palace Gardens, being the highest price for the property. The House in Upper-Filmor Gardens was bought by the stranger for $152 million USD. A month later the Apartments Saint-James that is situated between the Buckingham Palace and the Residence of the Premier Minister of England was given $218 million dollars. However, Lakshmi is now the owner of the most expensive house in the world when he purchased a House in Kensington from the Head of the Hedge Fund Noam Gottesman for $222 million USD. Thouvilla leopoldagh, Villa Leopolda was to be the first only if the transaction took place.

Mikhail Prokhorov denied his intention to buy the villa. The representative person from the «ONEXIM» Group presiding by Mikhail declared that they had no purchases in France, though in the future time they intend to invest in the historical real estate at Cote d`Azur and in other countries.

Finally mass media abroad came to the idea that Villa Leopolda was sold to the Russian magnate who preferred to be anonymous. The realtors practicing at Cote d`Azur told that in 90s the Russians attacked the elite real estate here in the place drawing attention to the amount offered for property and highlighting that the real estate for less than 100 million Euros was never considered by the Russians. Though, nobody named these Russians who used all their assets and forces to invest here into the real estate.

Lately Villa Leopolda again appeared to be involved in news about elite real estate. Mikhail Prokhorov is thought to have purchased the Villa, though the bargain failed. Nice-Matin announced on the termination of the transaction and attempts made by Prokhorov to bring down the price for the Villa to 200 million Euros and that as a result he was to transfer 10% of the sum of the transaction to Lily in compliance with the French legislation. «Eight months ago Mikhail was about to pay half a billion for this villa, and now he does not have an opportunity to propose several dozens millions Euros».

The French periodic could have been less ironic if Mikhail was not on the list of the wealthiest persons in Russia. So, Nice-Matin says that today «when all bet for the return of petrodollars of the Persian Gulf, the Russian dollar crane was broken, if not dried to end».

The rumors about the «broken dollar crane» are continued with gossips that Roman Abramovich is about to sell his villa in Antibes, and Mikhail Prokhorov appeared in the first top of Finance due to troubles and problems experienced by his competitors not by him personally.

Villa Leopolda seems to lose the title of the most expensive private house of the world. The experts state that the Villa costs about 30-40 million Euros. And Alexander V.G. Kraft, the President and the Director General of Sotheby's International Realty, the international real estate agency, publicized that prices offered for such unique structures go down to 20 to 30 million Euros since the point was that «the amount which was ready to offer by the competitive buyers and now the potential buyers who can afford spending a fortune for the house are not available any longer».

Nevertheless, even if the transaction took place, the title of the most expensive house would not be held for ever. The Indian businessman, Mukesh Ambani, is the wealthiest person in Asia, who is planning to move to 27-storeyed house in Bombay that he caused to erect for his family and corporation. And this real estate is estimated to cost approximately $2 billion USD.

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bob  - bob   |2010-12-08 10:20:01
i want this house.
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