© Dave Hogan
Showbiz magnate discovers star properties
Jonathan Shalit, the showbiz magnate who discovered Welsh soprano Charlotte Church, is also shrewd at choosing property. Following his sacking in 2000 as her manager, he invested part of the £2.3 million compensation in 20 buy-to-let former council flats, near his Kensington mansion-block home, for sums ranging from £160,000 to £280,000.
“They went up steadily in value and gave me a guaranteed income,” says the roly poly banker’s son, who represents TV stars such as Emma Crosby, Myleene Klass and Kate Silverton.
“I made about 12 per cent more than I would have done if I’d put the money anywhere else.”
Two years ago, just before the crash, he sold up and has invested the proceeds in a converted Sussex barn for “a seven-figure sum”.
Supermodel Bar Refaeli’s new boyfriend, Israeli tycoon Teddy Sagi, has spent £26 million buying a four-bedroom, 10th-floor home overlooking Hyde Park.
The swanky flat in The Knightsbridge formerly belonged to property investors Nick and Chris Candy, who sold it to the present owner, playboy New Zealand tycoon Eric Watson for £13 million in 2005.
“Teddy has paid a record price of £4,500 a square foot,” says an insider. Bikini-model Bar recently split from Hollywood star Leonardo Di Caprio after she got “too serious”. This caused one wag to observe: “The best way to get over a rich ex-boyfriend is to date someone even richer.”
Lord Mandelson’s right-hand-man Lord Davies of Abersoch, former chairman of the Standard Chartered Bank, has been adding to his South of France property portfolio.
© Dan Kitwood
He has bought the adjoining house to his impressive 18th century villa
in Ménerbes, the Luberon village best-known for its former inhabitant, Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence.
“Mervyn now owns two houses worth about 1.2 million each,” says a neighbour. “We were all intrigued when he invited the local mayor to Westminster to celebrate his ennoblement last winter.”
Modestly, the Mercedes-driving, Welsh-speaking son of a Midlands bank manager describes his property in the House of Lords register of members’ interests as “small house in Ménerbes rented out”.
Royal portrait painter Alexander Talbot Rice is selling his Chelsea studio and moving his paint-brushes to Florence. The one-bedroom first-floor flat near Cheyne Walk is available at £399,000 through Marsh & Parsons.
“I’m looking for a studio-cum-apartment overlooking Florence,” says the Gloucestershire farmer’s son, whose sitters include The Queen, Prince Philip and the Duke of Westminster.
“I’ve recently started an academy scholarship programme, which involves taking 10 under-privileged art students from Carmarthen to Florence to encourage them into
a career of fine art.”