Thursday 27 March 2014

Foxtons founder gets busy with chalet renovations in Courchevel 1850

Loyal Betaville readers might have noticed I am back from my jaunt in the French Alps.

But there was one thing I forgot to mention. While out in Courchevel 1850, I stumbled across a tale about how Jon Hunt - the founder of Foxtons - was spending a small fortune renovating a chalet in the resort.

Mr Hunt, an ex army man, did rather well after selling Foxtons, one of London's most aggressive estate agency chains, to private equity firm BC Partners at the top of the credit boom in 2007 for around £360m (there is nothing wrong with that, by the way).

Since the Foxtons sale, the hard-nosed dealmaker has set up several businesses to invest in commercial and residential property in the UK.

So, when I heard that Hunt was developing a super luxury chalet in Courchevel, it immediately struck me that perhaps he has come up with a new strategy - doing up high-end chalets and selling them on to Russian oligarchs and Gulf sheiks.

You could understand why such a venture might make sense. While out in Courchevel, I heard one Russian banker was so desperate for a luxury chalet in the resort's exclusive Jardin Alpin area that he bought one of my favourite restaurants, La Bergerie, for almost Euro 20m and knocked it down just so he could have the location. This banker then spent another small fortune re-building a mega chalet for himself and rents it out to punters for Euro 300,000 a week! Here is a link to it:

Mr Hunt's chalet, though, can be found right next to the main ski lifts in the centre of Courchevel 1850. See the picture below.

A public relations man for Mr Hunt assures me that the chalet is for personal use and is not part of a strategic shift by the property dealmaker into high-end chalet development.  
You might also be able to see from the photograph that a retail bank at street level splits Mr Hunt's rather nice holiday home.

My Courchevel mole claimed to me Hunt told the bank to move out of the premises so he could get control of the whole building and renovate it in the way he wants.

A spokesperson for Mr Hunt told me that nothing could he further from the truth, and that the bank is moving from its current location because it needs a larger unit to operate from.

Well, I guess if your as a wealthy as Mr Hunt having a cash point under your chalet is not that useful.  


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  2. Glad to know about your story Ben. The Courchevel 1850 in the picture is very beautiful, specially if its preserved very well. I like reading articles that is related to My work.