The latterday plutocrat who wants to add space to his London home applies to dig a super basement. In the late 17th century, buying the house next door to create a more substantial residence was the solution to the problem. In 1693 Craven Howard, a Lincolnshire nobleman paid £670 for two recently built adjoining houses on fashionable Soho Square and set about turning them into a suitably imposing single dwelling with a stone and brick façade — 10 Soho Square. Subsequent occupants of the property include the Arrowsmith family, a dynasty of cartographers whose early 19th-century maps and atlases are much sought-after by 21st-century collectors.
Today, 10 Soho Square is still standing, but it has once more been subdivided, having been used for the latter half of the 20th century as offices. Oakmayne Bespoke, the developer, paid £50 million for the grade II listed house in 2013 and converted it into five apartments. Four have been snapped up, leaving only the 2,180 sq ft penthouse on the third and fourth floors of the house.
These sales, mostly to London-based buyers, illustrate the growing popularity of this part of the West End where everything is close at hand: clubs, cafés, theatres and shops. No other neighbourhood in the capital can boast such an infinite variety of entertainment, gastronomic, retail and transport opportunities.
The once-shabby eastern end of Oxford Street is slowly being revamped and the opening of the Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road will quickly cause residents and workers in the area to forget the years of construction work involved. As part of this project, special grout shafts were dug to ensure that the tunnelling did not damage the historic buildings of Soho Square.
The main reception room of the penthouse looks over Soho Square garden, providing views that James Burrows of CBRE Residential, the estate agency selling the property, sees as one of the apartment’s key benefits. There are two bedrooms suites on this floor; the master suite and study occupy the whole of the fourth floor.
The price — £4.95 million — makes this a pied-à-terre of the grand variety, with such features as a concierge service from Quintessentially and marble floors laid in herringbone patterns. So smart is the decor, in fact, that the buyer might be tempted to spend some evenings in, despite the attractions on the doorstep.