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Nick Candy

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Millionaire property developer Nick Candy, 48, recently listed his penthouse apartment in One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, for £175m. If it sells, it will be Britain’s most expensive flat.

Love property porn – tell me more.
It’s a duplex with five bedrooms, a champagne room, a wine room for 750 bottles, a private spa and gym, a media room, a cocktail bar and two wraparound terraces. Interior decor? Some might call it vulgar – marble floors, mirrored walls, silk cushions and furniture made from the skins of crocodiles and snakes. The building’s amenities include a 21-metre ozone swimming pool, a cinema, a squash court, a golf simulator, a video games room and a private dining room seating 50. AA Gill once described One Hyde Park as “a self-made ghetto of naff and gilt”.

Money never equals taste. What’s a “champagne room”, anyway?
It’s usually a VIP room in a strip club where a customer can purchase private time with – ahem – a stripper. Such are the peccadillos of the super-rich, of whom Nick Candy is counted a member.

Exactly how rich is he?
So difficult to tell. Some websites say $1.1bn, yet he took out an £80m mortgage on his Knightsbridge flat with Credit Suisse in 2018, believed to be the largest loan advanced on a British property. His wealth is bound up with that of his brother, Christian, with whom he was in business for many years. The last public estimate of their joint worth comes from The Sunday Times Rich List in 2010 – an estimated £300m. According to the Telegraph, they were subsequently dropped after refusing to take part in the compilers’ verification process. The Candys are no strangers to obfuscation. In a 2017 court case in which they were sued for extortion, blackmail and intimidation by another developer, they were also accused of disdain for paying taxes. The brothers won, but the judge said they were “willing on occasion to lie when they consider their commercial interests justify them doing so”.

What’s their background?
The sons of Anthony “Tony” Candy, who ran an art studio, and drama teacher Patricia, they grew up in Surrey and were privately educated at Priory Preparatory School, then Epsom College. Nick has a degree in human geography from the University of Reading. Although their parents separated, he has spoken about his close family ties. After his father died of pancreatic cancer in 2013, he told the Daily Mail: “Money was no object. I spent a lot trying to find the best doctors – and I found the best one there is – but it was all too late.”

When did he start making serious money?
From the moment he and his younger brother borrowed £6,000 from their grandmother to buy their first property, a one-bedroom flat in Earl’s Court, west London. They renovated the £122,000 home while living in it. At the time Nick worked for J Walter Thompson and Christian for Merrill Lynch. Eighteen months later they sold the flat for £172,000, piling their £50,000 profit into another property, then another. In 1999 they were able to give up their day jobs and established Candy & Candy.

When did they hit the big time?
When Bowater House, an ugly 1950s office block overlooking Hyde Park, was put up for sale in 2004. The brothers wanted to transform the site into “the best residential building in the world”, recalls Graham Stirk, now a senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who landed the job of designing One Hyde Park. Stirk was shocked by how young they were. The brothers teamed up with one of Qatar’s richest men to buy the site for £150m, then took a £1bn loan from the German bank Eurohypo. Soon there were more than 2,500 workers on site.

I remember the area being gridlocked with traffic for years…
Four years, to be precise. Nick, a natural showman, sold £750m worth of flats while the project was still a hole in the ground. Their next deal was NoHo Square, on the site of the former Middlesex Hospital in Fitzrovia, bought for £175m in 2006. A year later came Chelsea Barracks, believed to be the costliest residential property deal ever struck in Britain. The Candys and the Qatari government bought the 12.8-acre site from the Ministry of Defence for £959m. In April 2007, the brothers joined forces with Icelandic bank Kaupthing to purchase an eight-acre site in Beverly Hills, known as 9900 Wilshire, for a reported £250m. Then the banking crisis hit and the big projects came to a halt.

What’s Nick Candy’s private life like?
Blingy. In 2012 he married former Neighbours star Holly Valance in Beverly Hills, apparently paying Katy Perry £1.2m to sing at the wedding. The following year Valance gave birth to a daughter, Luka Violet Toni Candy, and in 2017 the couple had a second daughter, Nova Skye Coco Candy. In the past the brothers have owned at least two yachts, called Candyscape and Candyscape II, as well as a powerboat called Catch Me If You Candy. Nick reportedly owns a yacht called 11.11, after his first daughter’s birthdate.

Do the brothers still get on?
They now appear to run very separate businesses, but the aforementioned 2017 court case may have provided an insight into their relationship. A witness statement read out in the High Court described Holly walking into her hotel room to find Nick lying on the floor in the foetal position, crying “inconsolably” because of his younger brother’s alleged “bullying”. In response, the brothers said the developer suing them was a “pathological liar”. In June 2018 Candy & Candy was renamed Candy Property to reinforce Nick’s sole ownership of the business. Christian, meanwhile, appears to be making even more money than his brother – this month he was given the green light to dig a tunnel from the basement of his house to his car museum on his £150m estate in Surrey, known as Candyland.

Sweet. What else is Nick up to?
Apart from trying to sell his apartment and diversifying into tech projects – in 2019, Candy Ventures acquired the intellectual property assets of augmented reality start-up Blippar – he is getting into politics. He’s spearheading a drive to raise more than £1m to oust Sadiq Khan at the London mayoral elections next month and replace him with Conservative Shaun Bailey.

Just what we need – another multimillionaire meddling in government.