Hedge Fund Manager Rokos Plans Luxury Home in Former U.K. Hotel

Date: Thursday, August 9, 2007
Author: Simon Packard, Bloomberg

Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Chris Rokos, a partner at U.K. hedge fund Brevan Howard Asset Management, plans to transform a dilapidated former hotel in Kensington into a luxury 10-bedroom home for his family.

Rokos, 36, has submitted plans to the local planning body to add a swimming pool, solarium, gym, and home cinema to the property, which once had 83 bedrooms. He purchased it for 18 million pounds ($36 million) and may spend 20 million pounds on the renovation, the Evening Standard reported yesterday.

The project ``will restore the Grade II listed building to its former splendor and original use,'' according to plans by consultant DP9. Kensington is one of the priciest districts in central London to own a home as financiers compete with wealthy overseas investors for a dwindling supply of property.

Prime residential real estate in central London is the world's most expensive location to own a luxury home, costing about 5 percent more than Monaco, according to Knight Frank LLC.

Rokos declined to comment on the project through his firm's external public relations company.

Prices of properties worth at least 4 million pounds gained about 43 percent in the 12 months to the end of June, Knight Frank's most recent monthly survey of seven postal districts in central London showed.

Rokos's planned home may rival the opulence of the 12- bedroom mansion in nearby Kensington Palace Gardens bought by billionaire Lakshmi Mittal three years ago for 57.1 million pounds.

Swimming Pool

Probably the biggest expense for the proposed renovation project by Rokos is the excavation of a four-story basement in the garden for a swimming pool.

Among the other ``modern functions'' for the 1,138 square meter (12,250 square feet) development are a solarium with a retractable glass roof and an underground garage that would accommodate two cars and have a hydraulic lift.

The property consists of two listed town houses that were combined in 1966. Rokos's architects propose to demolish the ``incoherent'' extensions built in the 1960s and replace them with a glass atrium.

Public consultation on the plans is scheduled to close Aug. 24 and the planning committee of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea council will probably review the proposed development in late September, a spokeswoman for the authority said.

Rokos is a former fixed-income derivatives trader who joined colleague and former head of Credit Suisse Group's interest-rate proprietary trading desk Alan Howard when he founded the hedge fund Brevan Howard in 2002. In October, Brevan Howard had more than $11 billion of assets under management.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Packard in London at packard@bloomberg.net