Sunday, 31 July 2011

Need a Vacation? Buy an Island

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Are you looking for an oasis of calm in a world of turmoil? It’s true that you could snag a farm, a winery, even an African nature reserve on JamesList if you’re looking for a respite from the world. Real estate is just one of our specialities. But what if you have very specific tastes? What if you want to withdraw from the world and declare yourself a sovereign nation, replete with your very own monarchy, currency, and culture? If you buy an island, well, maybe you can.

There are sites–such as this one–where you can find an island anywhere in the world to call your own. True, you can’t plant your flag and declare it the nation of Youtopia, but you can still get unparalleled privacy and autonomy. Your very own island would provide you a welcome change of pace.

Some islands come undeveloped but most provide swank digs where luxury-minded individuals can kick back with a level of isolation unknown to most. True, you might have to go milk-less at breakfast when you run out as the nearest corner store is miles away, but it would be a small price to pay for the ultimate escape.

Is a private island right for you? You cannot actually declare yourself a sovereign nation, of course, without recognition of a significant portion of the world’s countries. But aside from annual property taxes, you’d be living like a king of your own small domain.

Where to find $320 million worth of farm

Whenever we cover real estate that has shown up on James, it’s usually some spectacular architectual exercise or a building with heavy historical connotations, like the Upper Eastside Manhattan townhouse that Eleanor Roosevelt spent her days as a widow in. For now, we’re settling with something far more discreet, if you will.

This property in Brazil’s South Western Mato Grosso region doesn’t really have much in the way of buildings. Apart from a slaughter house, a few sheds, five corrals, two airstrips and a governance building, there’s not a whole lot going on. Why are we telling you? Well, here the sticky: it’s friggin’ huge – over 312 square miles, roughly the size of the Netherlands Antilles or, if it helps, 1800 times the size of the Vatican City. Sotheby’s claiming you could squeeze around 50,000 cows in there, too.

The price? I think it might be a record – you’re looking at $320 million.

By Love Blomquist

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Naomi Campbell Sets Sail on Bleu de Nimes

Call it the summer of the sybaritic supermodels and their superyachts; in the wake of Kate Moss’ voyage aboard Sir Philip Green’s Lionchase, Naomi Campbell has been doing a bit of luxury yachting herself. Campbell and her Russian billionaire boyfriend Vladislav Doronin have been cruising the coast of Turkey in the Bleu de Nimes (above), an ultra-luxe 197-ft. explorer-style superyacht originally built by Clelands of England in 1980 and refitted in 2007. The charter is said to be costing the chic couple close to $300,000 per week. With beautiful wood paneling throughout and classic Asian-inspired décor rife with antiques, the yacht may look a bit dated from the outside, but the inside boasts an incredibly stylish and elegant interior of nearly 6,000 square feet.

She can accommodate up to 12 guests in 9 cabins including a massive master cabin with en suite his and hers bathroom, a study and dressing areas. A crew of 21 including two private chefs looks after the demanding supermodel’s every whim. While lacking a swimming pool, the vessel does have a fully-equipped gym where Campbell can maintain her legendary figure, while Doronin attends to business in the office / library. Boarding in Bodrum, the couple traveled to the seaside town of Datca and are exploring the Greek islands as well.

Mogul Gives Kate Moss Kid’s Yacht for Honeymoon Hijinks

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British Topshop mogul Sir Phillip Green has kindly let his pal Kate Moss have the use of his superyacht for her honeymoon with rock star Jamie Hince. But it seems Green and Moss, who used to have a business partnership, are not as chummy as they used to be – the yacht he lent her is basically the tender for his main vessel, one that he usually lets his kids stay on. Don’t get us wrong – Moss’ loaner the Lionchase, a 109-ft. Overmarine Mangusta built in 2008, has plenty of speed and style for the supermodel’s sojourn, but it pales beside the 207-ft. Benetti Sir Phillip sets sail on. Built in 2006 and dubbed Lionheart, the super-luxe yacht towers over the smaller craft (see above) and travels with twice as many guests and staff.

Of course Lionchase, which cost about $10 million, is much faster than the mothership; she can do an impressive 37 knots to Lionheart’s stately 16. That’s perhaps more useful when evading the paparazzi. Jennifer Lopez has also been spotted living it up on the Lionchase in the past. Moss has the use of the yacht in the Mediterranean for two weeks, along with a private chef, the London papers report. Want a Mangusta 108 of your own?

July 11, 2011, By James

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The World's Most Luxurious Private Landscapes

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Filed under: Estates, Garden, Books

The lush oases pictured in Luxury Private Gardens, the newest title in teNeues' brilliant Luxury Books series, veer between the pleasantly inspirational and oppressively beautiful. In other words, while looking at it made us want to rush outside and start planting things, it also made us despair of ever creating anything one tenth as attractive as the private paradises portrayed between its covers. Much better, we feel, to simply sit back, mix a drink, read the damned book and let someone else do the digging, pruning, weeding and whatnot. But we digress.

Even the most lavish gardens in these pages displaying "the highest standards of horticultural excellence" are founded on simplicity, the book assures us: "Stripped down to their bare essentials, they are like a well-cut couturier's gown - nothing but an utterly simple response to the unadorned landscape or the naked human body they are designed to fit." The incredible Villa d'Este in Lake Como, Italy (where part of Casino Royale was filmed) pictured on the cover, with its elegant, elaborate parterres doesn't exactly scream simplicity to us, but we could stare at it all day.

Jared Paul Stern

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$100 Million for a Second Home in California? A Russian Billionaire Just Bought One!

Yuri Milner $70 million home in Silicon Valley California

The Russian billionaire, Yuri Milner, has paid $100 million for a second home in California's Silicon Valley, in Los Altos Hills. According to the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch, March 30th, it is the highest known amount paid for a home in the United States.

This home is 25,500 square feet of living area, and was inspired by 18th-century French chateaux (see above). It has 25,000+ square feet of living space with five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a central entry court, ballroom, home theater, wine cellar, spa/gym, a tennis court, car wash, swimming pool and formal gardens. The living areas are all located on the second floor to take advantage of the dramatic San Francisco Bay Bay view. It was designed by the prestigious Hablinski + Manion Architectural & Planning Group.

Mr. Milner's primary residence is in Moscow, where he lives with his wife and two daughters, but he is a frequent visitor to the high-tech enclave in northern California.

The 47-year-old Internet tycoon appeared on the cover of the most recent issue of Forbes magazine and has invested heavily in Facebook, Zynga and Groupon through his investment firm DST Global. His company is said to control about 10 percent, or $5 billion worth, of Facebook's shares. He also has had positive dealings with the Russian online company

The home was bought from another tycoon, Fred Chan, founder of ESS Technology, who has reportedly decided to live in Hawaii after building the Silicon Valley mansion.

Mr Milner reportedly made the transaction through a limited liability company called La Paloma Property. After years of relative market flatness, this sale has been seen as a sign that the market in high-end properties on the West Coast are becoming more, well, effervescent.

by Susan Kime

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Mr Incredible - GIORGIO ARMANI

28 July 2011

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GIORGIO ARMANI is 77 this month. Normally that sort of fact wouldn't constitute news, but a quick glance at the picture to the left will explain our surprise at the designer's incredible shape.

Armani stunned beach-goers on the Spanish island of Formentera yesterday as he stripped off to reveal a body most 40-year-olds would be delighted with. Wearing a pair of black swimming trunks and sunglasses of his own design, the designer relaxed and soaked up the sun on holiday with friends.

Lauren Milligan

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Giorgio Armani to Design for Lady Gaga

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Filed under: Celebrity Shopping, Celebrity Design

Giorgio Armani for Lady GagaLady Gaga is known for her 'love it or hate it' fashion sense and it seems that designer Giorgio Armani has stationed himself firmly on the 'love it' side and designed several outfits for just for her to use on stage during her current concert tour. Shown here is one of the creations, a sparkling structured bodysuit with plunging neckline and exaggerated shoulders, and others include a floor-length black trench and a mini-dress with dramatic mirror effects. All the outfits are made with matching shoes and sunglasses, also by Armani, who was quoted on Lady Gaga as saying "In addition to her formidable songwriting skills, she is a modern fashion phenomenon."

Source by Rigel Celeste

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Beckhams Borrow Clooney's Lake Como Villa

Filed under: Estates, Sports

George Clooney is quite a pal. According to Hello magazine, the movie star just lent his lavish $6 million villa on Italy's famed Lake Como (above) to soccer superstar David Beckham and his wife Victoria. Beckham, whose taste for the finer things in life has been often noted here, is being fought over by two soccer teams, the LA Galaxy and Italy's AC Milan. The Beckhams will take some relaxing time out at the villa while waiting to see the if LA Galaxy will release him from his contract and allow a transfer to AC Milan, the magazine reports. "George has really taken David under his wing since the transfer trouble started," they note.

The luxurious villa, which has played host to many of Clooney's superstar pals, is just half an hour away from the Beckhams' base in Milan. Clooney, 47, and Beckham, 33, became friends after being introduced by Giorgio Armani, (whose underwear ads the Beckhams star in), at the Met Ball in New York last May. Luxe Lake Como, where scenes from the last two James Bond movies were shot, has long been a favorite retreat for Italy's rich and famous and the international jetset. As we mentioned last month, the contents of late designer Gianni Versace's villa there are being auctioned off by Sotheby's in March.

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Did Abramovich Just Bag a Bacon for $37 Million at Sotheby's?

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Filed under: Auctions, Art, Wealth

Last month when we wrote about an important Francis Bacon triptych being auctioned off at Sotheby's, we predicted it would blast past its $14 million high estimate. And indeed on Thursday Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud (above) sold for a whopping $37 million, or more than two and a half times the top quote, at the auction house's Looking Closely sale of 20th century artworks in London. In our original post we also put forward Bacon-loving oligarch Roman Abramovich as the likely buyer, since he's in the midst of decorating his new $230 million mega-mansion in London; while Thursday's purchaser was anonymous, we bet the Freud triptych will be hanging on Abramovich's wall before long. The Thursday sale, from works said to have belonged to the low-profile Geneva collector George Kostalitz who died last year, also saw a new auction record for any surrealist work of art – Salvador Dali's Portrait de Paul Eluard, which sold for $21.6 million.

Jared Paul Stern

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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Celebrity real estate - Jennifer Aniston's New York Apartment?

Jennifer Aniston's New York Apartment?

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Rumor has it that everyone's favorite Friend is purchasing a four-bedroom, four-bathroom penthouse in the West Village for a whopping $14.95 million, according to The Daily News. Located at 2 Horatio Street, the pre-war duplex just underwent a two-year renovation and is picture perfect for the good girl, complete with multiple wraparound terraces and gorgeous views of the Hudson.

It's impeccably decorated (and available fully furnished to boot) and dons multiple fireplaces, top of the line appliances and a chef's kitchen that seats eight. Of course, the baby nursery and kid's room aren't going to dispel those adoption rumors.

But for a home like that, she should just go with it.

The Huffington Post | Ashley McAdams

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Celebrity real estate

Christie Brinkley Hamptons Home

American model extraordinaire Christie Brinkley has put her magnificently beautiful water front mansion in the Hamptons up for sale with an asking price of $15,750,000.

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This is pretty much what i would consider a dream house, without looking inside the actual house of course, but outside is a wonderland of beautiful. Sprawling green lawns which lead to a private beach, all surrounded by mature oak trees.

The specs inside are 5,500 square feet of living space along with 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. Not to mention the house is located in Sag Harbor, New York.

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Credit crunch reaches world's most expensive streets

The global financial crisis has squeezed property prices, but how has it affected those at the very top?

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    Luxury yachts moored in the harbour in Monte Carlo, Monaco
    Monte Carlo home to the most expensive square metre of real estate in the world. Photograph: Graeme Robertson

    Avenue Princesse Grace in Monaco is the most expensive street in the world, with each square metre in an apartment setting you back £73,000 – or about the same as a 70-square-metre apartment on the seafront in Hastings, according to Dow Jones' Wealth Bulletin.

    But the palm-lined street, named after the Hollywood star Grace Kelly and popular with Russian oligarchs, is suffering from "la crise du credit" like everywhere else. The bulletin shows top prices paid for apartments, are down by 37% from 2008's peak of £116,000 a square metre.

    Overall, prices paid for prime residential property in the world's fanciest locations have fallen by 12% over the past year, although Europe fell less sharply than the US and Russia.

    Via Suvretta in the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz was the only street on the list where prices for top properties have risen since 2008. Prices are up by 18% to around £27,500 a square metre.

    The world's second priciest street, the Chemin de Saint-Hospice, is a 20-minute drive along the coast from Monaco, snaking through on Cap Ferrat. It numbers just 15 houses, commanding beautiful Mediterranean views.

    According to Wealth Bulletin, local estate agents say there is one property for sale on the street, but it is being sold privately and its price a closely guarded secret. It estimates that property on the street goes for an average of £61,000 a square metre.

    New York's Fifth Avenue pips London's Kensington Palace Gardens to third place in the survey, with apartments selling for around £44,000 a square metre. Although a 400 sq/m apartment overlooking Central Park on the Upper East Side of Fifth Avenue sold for $29m in June, local agents say the market has come off the boil, and remains affected by a lack of supply

    Fourth-placed Kensington Palace Gardens is Britain's most exclusive address, best-known as London's embassy row, including the Russian delegation. Prices in the street are estimated to have fallen by 15%-20% over the past year.

    The world's top 10

    1. Avenue Princesse Grace, Monaco, £73,000 per sq/m

    2. Chemin de Saint-Hospice, Cap Ferrat, South of France, £61,000 per sq/m

    3. Fifth Avenue, New York, £44,000 per sq/m

    4. Kensington Palace Gardens, London, £40,000 per sq/m

    5. Avenue Montaigne, Paris, £33,000 per sq/m

    6. Via Suvretta, St Moritz, Switzerland, £27,500 per sq/m

    7. Via Romazzino, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, £26,000 per sq/m

    8. Severn Road, The Peak, Hong Kong, £24,500 per sq/m

    9. Ostozhenka Street, Moscow, £21,000 per sq/m

    10. Wolseley Road, Point Piper, Australia, £17,000 per sq/m

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Nat & Oleg’s Billionaire’s Ball

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Montenegro made strides in its bid to become the new Monaco with the recent 40th birthday bash of Billionaire banking heir Nat Rothschild, which stretched over three days. While the guest of honor and a dozen others arrived by private jet, including a 737 that flew in from the UAE, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska made the biggest splash – literally – with his $150 million yacht the Queen K (above). Built by Lurssen in 2004, the 238-ft. megayacht has luxury accommodations for 18 along with a crew of 21. Stunning Russian model Sasha Volkova stood out among a large collection of eye candy.

The UK papers report that palm trees from Uruguay were flown in for the main event, billed as a “Disco Soiree” for 300 guests, held around a newly-built, 215ft-long infinity pool at a marina in Porto Montenegro, where Rothschild is an investor. More than £500 million worth of superyachts filled the harbour, and though none were as impressive as Oleg’s, Canadian gold mining billionaire Peter Munk’s Golden Eagle ran a close second. Munk had pride of place however having mainly bankrolled the new marina.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Abramovich’s Eclipse Available for Charter at $2 Million / Week

Barely six months after he finally took delivery of the Eclipse, the world’s largest private yacht, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich is offering it up for charter at a rate of $2 million per week, we can exclusively reveal. The 538-ft. Blohm + Voss behemoth is available via ultra-exclusive brokerage SuperYachtsMonaco, and is the world’s most expensive yacht charter by far. While Abramovich is understandably publicity shy and security conscious when it comes to the gigayacht, it’s doubtful even one of Rupert Murdoch’s media nasties would have the wherewithal to shell out two million bucks for a chance to penetrate his floating palace.

The yacht, which has space for 30 guests and 75 crew, reportedly features a military-grade missile defense system, armor plating, bulletproof windows, three helipads, two swimming pools and a wellness center, among other luxe amenities. As we reported back in February, thanks to some clever negotiating Abramovich only paid about $485 million for the yacht even though it cost close to $800 million to build. Of course it’s costing him an estimated $50 million a year just to keep the damn thing running, and each fuel fill-up runs a cool $650,000, so it’s no surprise that he’s renting it out. Even an oligarch needs to defray expenses; he’s also offering his enormous explorer yacht Luna for charter through SYM as well.

July 18, 2011
By Jared Paul Stern

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