Interesting article on One Hyde Park, its mysterious owners, and the changing face of Central London.
Perhaps the most striking fact about One Hyde Park and the London super-prime property market is what it tells us about who the world’s richest people are. Many people think the greatest winners of globalization today are financiers. A decade or so ago, that may have been true. But today another class sits above even them—the global commodity plutocrats: owners of mineral rights, or dominant players in mineral-rich countries in sectors such as construction and finance that benefit from commodity booms.
London real-estate agents confirm that these commodity plutocrats dethroned the financiers some time before the financial crisis hit. “I can’t remember the last time I sold a property to a banker,” says Stephen Lindsay, of the real-estate agency Savills. “It’s been hard for anyone to compete with the Russians, the Kazakhs. They are all in oil, gas—that is what they do. Construction—all that kind of stuff.”
Even the Arab money has taken a backseat to the new buyers, says Hersham. “The wealth of the ex-Soviets is incredible,” he says. “Unless you are talking about [Goldman Sachs C.E.O. Lloyd] Blankfein or [Stephen Schwarzman], the head of Blackstone, or the head of one of the very big banks, there is no driver from the City of London at these levels anymore.”