A property in London has recently been the focus of much media coverage, selling for a pocket-shredding sum of £140 million.
The property in question is the penthouse apartment, One Hyde Park, located in Knightsbridge, easily one of London’s most affluent areas, and the home of Harrods, the world’s most famous store. Boasting a remarkable array of perks- ex-SAS security, panic rooms, a secret tunnel entrance, and room service from the neighboring Mandarin Hotel, itself the site of celeb-chef Heston Blumenthal’s new London restaurant, the property will serve as home for oligarchs, Arab Sheiks and other members of Club Highlife.
At its price it is officially the most expensive property in Britain, easily surpassing the previous record set by the £115 million sale of the 8 St James’s Park property in Westminster.
Whilst the identity of the buyer remains a closely guarded secret the identity of the sellers does not, they are the Candy Brothers, Nick and Christian, the movers behind practically every major London property dealing in the last ten years.
So how did the ubiquitous brothers climb to the top of the vertigo-inducing London property ladder?
What is now a fortune estimated at £9 billion originally started out as a £6,000 loan fifteen years ago in 1995. At this moment in time the brothers Candy were involved in separate ventures, the younger brother Christian was busy completing his business management degree at London’s prestigious King’s College, and Nick, his senior by two years, was working for advertising firm J Walter Thompson.
Whilst working in their individual areas, Christian and Nick lived in a one bedroom flat, which initially cost a reported £122,000. Deciding the Earl’s Court apartment needed a lick of paint, the Candy’s took a £6000 loan from their generous grandmother and renovated the flat, whilst continuing to live there.
A little over a year later the brother’s decided to move on and put the place up for sale, selling it for £172,000 and banking a tidy profit of £50,000.
Making such a healthy profit from the sale gave the sweetly-named brothers a taste for the property game, and soon after they found another property which also could be an attractive prospect- with a little renovation. Eight months down the line the second property was sold, this time earning a profit of £90,000, and thus the Candy Empire began to take shape.
Their trick was to find high-end properties that needed modernisation, renovate the properties, load them up with trendy gadgets and fancy techno-goods, and then sell them on to high net-worth clients at an attractive profit.
Fast forward 15 years and the Candy Brothers have now achieved legendary status in the world of property, their crowning achievement being the £900 million capture of the Chelsea barracks, perhaps London’s most prestigious patch of real estate. Alongside this, and the aforementioned One Hyde Park, the Candy’s have also struck a deal to turn the old Middlesex hospital, near Oxford St, into a complex of high end apartments that will be worth an estimated £1.5 billion.
But simply having a keen eye for redeveloping is not enough to climb to the top the way the Candy’s have, they are said to have contrasting personalities that combine to work as the ideal business hive-mind. Christian is said to be the business-orientated one, with an introverted personality and a mind for maths and figures, while Nick plays the role of the flash fixer, there to arrange all the lavish details that their impossibly wealthy clients inevitably demand.
Amongst their peers their reputation is as high as the prices of the property they deal with, a rival property magnate once remarked “I am very impressed by what they have done,' whilst another said: 'It is clever lateral thinking. All of their competitors bring out the tired old brochure or buy the conventional advertising, but this is not what these guys do. They spend a lot of time working their contacts, because these contacts lead to other contacts and if you want to get into the top echelon of the money world you need to move in those circles.' And the editor of trade paper Property Week, Giles Barry, said: 'Candy & Candy are the biggest arrival in the property industry this decade. The Establishment has turned its nose up at them, saying they are too young and that they over-pay for sites. But at the same time it's secretly envious of their success”
The Candy’s themselves rarely speak in the media, however during a rare interview with This Is Money magazine they hinted at the kind of people they work with, and the kind of work they do: “'We're not talking celebrities here, these are global… you know… rulers of countries, oligarchs, some of the richest entrepreneurs in the world. The kind of people who can afford these things. We've done fur fridges, champagne cellars like you wouldn't believe, swimming pools that turn into ballrooms. At the moment we're working on a gold-leaf interior for a car - which wouldn't be my first choice - and a helicopter with a boardroom in the back. And we've just been asked to design a walk-in wardrobe for a client who loves shoes. He wants at least 150 pairs on display simultaneously."
However, the Candy’s are not ready to kick back and relax just yet, with in increased global presence still in their sights: “I believe the key cities of the world are London, New York, Beverly Hills, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Our goal is to have an office in all of those cities. Then I'll sit back and say maybe we're achieving,” Nick said.