Abramovich’s plan for a $78million New York mega-mansion made from three houses, REJECTED (Photos)

He took three years to win approval for his $140 million mega mansion in London.

But now Roman Abramovich has entered into another battle over a near-identical property in New York.

The Chelsea FC owner has had his plans for a $78 million (£58 million) mansion rejected and branded ‘a whole new level of egregious consumption’.

The Russian billionaire was told by New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission that his proposal to turn three landmarked townhouses into one property was an ‘unjustified tear-down’.

Mr Abramovich won approval for exactly the same thing at his home in Lowndes Square, one of London’s most exclusive streets.

In 2010 he purchased all nine flats of the prime London block with Harvey Nichols and Harrods as their corner shops.


Spread across two stucco-fronted properties in Knightsbridge in London, the eight-bedroom building - which was approved by Kensington and Chelsea council - was expected to be worth up to £150million once completed.

Mr Abramovich had bought the individual flats over the years to convert the building into the single home, but did not change the exterior.

He first bought a flat there in the late Nineties, spending £1.2million. He and his then wife, Irina, spent a similar amount gutting and remodelling it and it was their London home for several years.

By cannily buying up individual flats, the Russian ended up paying between £15million and £20million for the two historic houses, a great deal less than their eventual worth.


He bought the freehold for the buildings from Sun Life for only £1.8million. But by 2011 it was reported that he had suspended the renovation plans and he put the property up for sale for £70million in 2012.

Now, this time around, in New York, he was told that there is ‘more than a dollars and cents price tag when one purchases history’ by the group of historians and architects.

After a testy meeting the commission took no action meaning that Mr Abramovich’s developers have to come up with a revised proposal which will be examined at a later date.

Over the course of the past 18 months Mr Abramovich has paid a combined $78 million (£55 million) to buy 11, 13, and 15 East 75th St with the intention of turning it into a mega mansion.

They are two Queen Anne style rowhouses designed by William E. Mowbray and built in 1887-89.

The other rowhouse was originally built in the Queen Anne style in 1887-89 and redesigned in the neo-Federal style by Henry Polhemus in 1923.

The application by Mr Abramovich, who is worth £5.5 billion, is to carry out extensive renovations and turn them all into one 18,000 sq ft, five storey home.

But according to a report in Newyorkyimby.com, a property development website, at a meeting of the landmark commission on Tuesday night, there was barely a word of praise.

Commissioner Michael Goldblum said that it was a case ‘uniformity over authenticity’ whilst Michael Devonshire said the plan was ‘bogus’.

Christabel Gough, of the Society for the Architecture of the City, said that the proposal would be an ‘unjustified tear-down’.

Kelly Carroll of the Historic Districts Council said: ‘Combining three individual mansions into one is a whole new level of egregious consumption, and (we) can only hope that the owner will have a sensitivity to these homes and to this block commensurate with the amount of space that is being taken over here.

‘To that end, it is absolutely inappropriate to destroy the façade of no. 11. It is not an alteration in any way, but rather, a demolition.

‘There is more than a dollars and cents price tag when one purchases history, there is also the cost of intelligent stewardship and this proposal is anything but’.

According to the plans Mr Abramovich, 49, who was not at the hearing, wants to completely replace the front facade of one building, remove the party walls separating all three buildings and add a rooftop garden and a cellar.

The rear will be completely overhauled to a bronze and glass design with gigantic bushes running from top to bottom, known as green walls.

Inside there will be four bedrooms, a pool and sauna in the basement, an ‘arts room’, a library, a dining room on the first floor, a garden pavilion on the roof - and a hydraulic elevator.

The New York City Department of Buildings has already rejected his plans and now the Landmarks Commission rejected it too.

At the hearing Andrew Salimian of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts said the proposal would ‘erase a significant piece of history’.

Andrew Dolkart, a professor of Historic Preservation at the Columbia University, said approval ‘would set a terrible precedent’.

Some of the commissioners did offer a degree of support and the LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan even said that, solely judging by the rendering, it was ‘quite good’.

Commissioner Kim Vauss called the proposal ‘laudable’.

At the end of the LPC meeting on Tuesday the committee

Mr Abramovich’s architects Stephen Wang + Associates, PLLC said during the hearing that the plans would create a more ‘cohesive’ street.

They said that the bronze at the back off the property is appropriate because it will age well.

Lead architect Stephen Wang said in a statement: ‘We value the input and recommendations of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and we will continue to work closely with the Agency.

‘We are confident we will gain the approvals necessary. This process is on-going and we will continue to brief all parties involved and work closely with relevant stakeholders’.

Mr Abramovich had similar problems when he set out to developed his 17th Century mansion in Kensington, West London overlooking the Thames.

It took three years before he was allowed to spend $14 million (£10 million) knocking three properties together into one.

Residents had complained and said they feared they would lose light and that the development would cause a disturbance.


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