Saudi billionaire buys famous Onassis family London home for £18.6m

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·3 min read
£25m Onassis Residence in Grosvenor Square.
The £25m Onassis Residence in Grosvenor Square, London. Photo: Wetherell

A Saudi billionaire has bought the Onassis Residence in Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square, in a deal worth £18.6m ($24.3m).

The famous house, which had an asking price of £25m, was bought for the billionaire’s daughter and it is understood by the estate agency Wetherell, that this is the highest price paid for a single, unmodernised apartment in Mayfair this year.

The deal was brokered in less than 24 hours — a feat that hasn’t been achieved on a Mayfair home priced at more than £10m for over a decade, in times before the stamp duty.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Onassis residence was used as a London pied-a-terre by Artemis Onassis, the sister of Aristotle Onassis, Christina Onassis, Artemis’s niece, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Princess Lee Radziwill (Jackie’s sister).

It is a neo-Georgian apartment and was built in 1938-1939. The apartment’s first owner was Sir John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley (1882-1958), chairman of the Royal Opera House and patron of opera singer Maria Callas (1923-1977).

Reception room in the famous mansion. Photo: Wetherell
Mockup of how the reception rooms could look after a makeover. Photo: Wetherell

Real estate speculators’ interest in the property has been piqued by the potential to restore it to its former glory.

The Ambassadorial first floor apartment provides over 5,000 square foot of lateral living space. It also has a more than 60 foot balcony and south facing terrace

It has three adjacent reception rooms, totalling over 60 foot in length, all facing the square and is complete with 10.3 foot ceilings.

Once restored, 47 Grosvenor Square could be worth up to £30m.

The front of the property. Photo: Wetherell
The front of the property. Photo: Wetherell

When approached, Wetherell declined to comment on the buyer or provide details of the deal.

However, when asked about the deal being listed on Lonres, Peter Wetherell, founder and chairman of the firm said: “The landmark sale [...] shows the continuing appeal by global wealth for trophy London properties.

“Ultra-high-net-worth buyers from around the world are currently wanting to acquire trophy properties of this type in Mayfair which will soon be in short supply.

“This is due to Westminster City Council’s new planning brief, which will prohibit the building of new homes of over £2,155 square foot (200 square metres). These planning changes mean that the pipeline supply of these type of large Ambassadorial residences will diminish over time.”

Jeremy Gee, managing director of Beauchamp Estates, another estate agent involved in finding buyers for the residence, said: “The deal is cloaked in secrecy but we understand that the apartment has sold to a Middle East buyer, a Saudi billionaire buying for his daughter.

“It is interesting that since COVID-19 all the ultra-prime deals have either been for houses or for full-floor apartments like this one or penthouses where buyers can carefully control access and don’t have to share access to their homes with neighbours.”