Abramovich Plan Dazzles London

Billionaire and Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich has submitted plans to build in London what would be Britain's priciest private property, with an estimated value of ?150 million ($297 million), The Mail on Sunday reported.

He is planning to rejoin two adjacent townhouses on Lowndes Square that were split into nine separate apartments in 1998, the newspaper reported.

The resulting 2,800-square-meter structure will have eight bedrooms, five stories above ground and three below. The bedrooms will all have en suite bathrooms, and the residence will include accommodations for staff above a multicar garage.

The planned development will maintain the buildings' stucco-fronted exteriors but will heavily remodel the interior.

A source with knowledge of the plans told the paper that "it looks as though it will be palatial. ... He wants a very plush interior in the style of high neoclassical Victoriana to match the exterior.

"This clearly is a very personal project. ... He's going to be very hands-on and there will be nothing minimalist about his taste. Inside will be all cornices, thick pile carpeting and heavy drapery," the source said.

Abramovich, who owns Chelsea football club, has been buying up the apartments as they came on the market since the late 1990s, the report said. Analysts told the paper Abramovich likely paid ?15 million to ?20 million for the apartments, suggesting he will make a healthy return on the investment.