High fliers find security on top of the world
For those with deep pockets, the top floor is the best way to live in peace
ONE of the real bummers about being rich in this country, you’d think, would be paying millions for an openhearted, architect- designed home in the city — calculated to make the best of our benign climate — but not being able to feel entirely comfortable nodding off in front of the cricket on a balmy evening.
It’s all very well having acres of living areas that effortlessly blur the relationship between indoors and out and having bathrooms with sliding walls opening to private courtyards, but what’s the use if you don’t feel 100 per cent safe in your own home?
Besides, if you’re well enough off to afford such elegance in the first place, you’re either spending excessively long hours at the job that got you there, or spending down time on a beach.
Which is precisely why the penthouse is now the home of choice for the exceedingly deep of pocket. At last they can live in a place where they don’t have to check all the windows and doors before going to bed.
Then again, even when you own a penthouse, particularly if it’s one of the most expensive on the planet, security can be an ongoing obsession.
At the future London pad of the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Sheik Hamad, which overlooks Hyde Park in the One Hyde Park building currently under construction, the walls and windows will reportedly be bullet proof and there’ll be an underground passage from the building to a nearby hotel.
It will reportedly have iris recognition equipment in the lifts as well as licence plate recognition equipment in the carpark.
The development has been designed by hero architect Richard Rogers and Sheik Hamad reportedly paid $ 200 million last year for his home, making it the world’s most expensive apartment. The building will not be finished until late next year or early 2010.
Nearer to home, the most expensive apartment in Asia was sold in October last year in Hong Kong for $ 41.8 million, according to the South China Morning Post . Covering the 52nd and 53rd floor of the Branksome Crest tower, over a capacious 658sq m, it has its own swimming pool and 250sq m of outdoor terrace and gardens.
Such prices make our local record seem feeble in comparison. We’re yet to see more paid for a local penthouse than the $ 20 million that was reportedly handed over for the highest home at the Bezzina Group’s Jade development on the Gold Coast last year.
At nearby Soul, planned by the Juniper Property Group, the penthouse fetched a reported $ 17 million.
Across the other side of the country, meanwhile, the penthouse on top of a new six- storey complex planned at Mandurah, south of Perth, is likely to fetch up to $ 18 million, according to some reports. In the west, the previous record paid for a penthouse was $ 8.85 million for the finest home at The Moorings in North Fremantle. Developed by Palazzo Homes, the Mandurah penthouse will cover 1000sq m.
Not that square metreage or the price on the swing tag is the main indicator of luxury. This has a lot more to do with things such as the flow of the spaces, attention to detail, the level of finishing, views, location, natural light, air and the general feel of a place — and it doesn’t have to cost $ 20 million to get it.
At the new development Luxe at Surfers Paradise ( pictured right), designed by architects Bligh Voller Neild, the penthouses will likely tick all the boxes that prospective purchasers of your average sumptuous sky home expect. But there’s also a chance for buyers to get a piece of the penthouse action for luxury apartment prices.
And that’s because Luxe is a building with one apartment per floor.
Here you’ll be able to leave the windows and doors open all night if you so choose and you’ll be master of all you survey in a panoramic 360 degrees, starting from $ 1.5 million.
For that price, there’ll be no iris recognition in the lifts.