An Indian-born business tycoon has spent a whopping 50 million pounds to transform a decaying town house into a mega mansion in the heart of London.
Prakash Lohia,whose fortune is estimated at almost 2 billion pounds,recruited a small army of historians,designers and craftsmen to restore the historic Georgian property in the posh Mayfair area.
The charm of creating a lavish home seems to run in the family for Lohia,who is married to the younger sister of Indian-born steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal,among the richest men in the world.
Like his brother-in-law,the chief of the firm Indorama – the world’s largest producer of polyester – made his money in Indonesia where he has citizenship. Indorama’s operations have since expanded to Africa,Europe and North America.
According to a report in ‘The Sunday Times’,Lohia’s son Amit is also believed to be looking for a grand London property.
The Mayfair residence,Sheridan House,being restored by Lohia,was built in 1770 as a home for General John Burgoyne,who is blamed for making Britain lose its US colonies after a disastrous military campaign during the American War of Independence.
In the last century the property was used as offices,but by the time it was bought by Lohia in 2008,it had fallen into disrepair and was on English Heritage’s register of ‘properties at risk’.
Lohia and his wife have spent nearly five years turning back the clock and reviving the mansion’s 18th-century opulence.
English Heritage’s principal inspector in London,Timothy Jones said that with some of the “grandest interiors in the capital,” the mansion has now been restored and removed from their at-risk register.
The terraced home has a newly-laid hall in Italian marble,rooms for entertaining guests with mahogany floors and intricate border details,two reception rooms with period furniture,a music room and a dining room that seats 16 guests.
The newly-built basement has a gym,spa,sauna and staff quarters. Lohia has also built a mews house at the back with its own conference facilities. Below it is a garage containing his car collection,including a Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Lohia is not the first Indian to restore one of London’s architectural gems. The billionaire Hinduja brothers spent 100 million pounds transforming four adjoining historic properties near Buckingham Palace into a family home a few years ago.