Roman Abramovich May Get Go-Ahead For Historical Mansion Reconstruction

Roman Abramovich May Get Go-Ahead For Historical Mansion Reconstruction

Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich is set to realize a three-year dream to renovate a historic property overlooking the Thames - including a new art studio to show off his priceless collection.

The 17th century building was once home to artist James Whistler. Now the Russian billionaire, 46, promises to transform its front garden to resemble one of Whistler's paintings of the Thames embankment at night.

Kensington and Chelsea council is poised to grant approval next week for a US?$ 15 million scheme to restore three linked Cheyne Walk properties into a super-home.

The project, which began in November 2010, has sparked concerns from a number of neighbors who fear they will suffer a loss of light and views and have their homes put at risk by plans to excavate a two-storey basement.

According to plans drawn up by architects 6a, Mr Abramovich wants to transform the Grade II-listed property into a "beautiful and meaningful contemporary home". A report by the council's executive director of planning said the basement would not harm the "special architectural and historical interest" of the two surviving houses, dating back to one built in 1521 by Sir Thomas More.

The proposal would see a garage block demolished and replaced with a "bespoke" art studio "with a particular focus on the quality of light and display of artworks" for the collection of priceless modern paintings he has amassed with partner Dasha Zhukova, 31.

One property would be separated from the main home to create a "secondary building for staff and guests". Grand drawing rooms overlooking the Thames would be restored in the main house, with oaks replacing the lime trees in its front garden. The main property has access via a private side road. Work is unlikely to be finished for three years.