08 Feb 2021

Eating the super-rich

There's something truly delicious about this article describing how the super-rich are being ripped off by developers hoping to cash in on the trend of turning world cities into real estate investment vehicles.

She was disappointed with her purchase on Day 1, she said, when she left her home in London in early 2016 to move into what she expected to be a completed apartment, and found that both her unit and the building were still under construction.

“They put me in a freight elevator surrounded by steel plates and plywood, with a hard-hat operator,” she said. “That’s how I went up to my hoity-toity apartment before closing.”

That's Ms. Abramovich speaking, daughter to Chelsea owning Abramovich.

One of the most common complaints in supertall buildings is noise, said Luke Leung, a director at the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. He has heard metal partitions between walls groan as buildings sway, and the ghostly whistle of rushing air in doorways and elevator shafts.

And it get's better:

Some residents also railed against surging fees at the building’s private restaurant, overseen by the Michelin-star chef Shaun Hergatt. When the building opened in late 2015, homeowners were required to spend $1,200 a year on the service; in 2021, that requirement jumps to $15,000, despite limited hours of operation because of the pandemic. And breakfast is no longer free.

Recently my partner and I went to look at new build apartment to purchase, almost directly opposite the flat I grew up in. It's no exaggeration to say it was of poorer construction and layout than the Edwardian flat I was vacating. My childhood flat was draughty and bitterly cold, it still has gas lamps on the walls and single pane sash windows. I'd still rather stay there than spend a cool half a million quid for a concrete floor, and some questionable stud walling that I think I could walk through drunk up.

I'm not sure who buys these things, but they feel like greater fools at this point - and the party is very nearly over.