Roman Abramovich’s ‘right-hand man’ bids to turn crumbling Kensington hotel into luxury flats

A close associate of sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich wants to transform a disused hotel in Kensington into luxury apartments. David Davidovich is described by Forbes as Abramovich’s ‘right hand man’. Davidovich purchased the Clearlake Hotel and the building on Prince of Wales Terrace in 2017. It was in a prime location, but it had little else. It was a magnet for local waifs, strays, and was closed in 2015. Today, the two stuccoed mansions, which were once owned by the Herskovits family, are a disgraceful sight in a row of smart terraces from the 19th century. The windows and doors have been boarded up and the wires hanging from the roof are visible. The inside of the buildings needs to be stripped completely. Evening StandardBut Davidovich has submitted plans to the council to restore the buildings’ facade to its original glory. He also plans to remodel the interior and layout of the flats horizontally to improve circulation and room layout. A basement excavation of one-storey is also planned to provide additional storage. According to a planning statement, the buildings are currently vacant and in a very poor condition both internally and externally. The proposals would provide a significant opportunity for a high-quality development, including the upgrading of existing elevations, including those at the front and rear, to enhance the street scene and enhance area. Davidovich has attempted to redevelop the hotel before. Davidovich’s plans to combine the two buildings into one mega-mansion were rebuffed in 2020 by Kensington and Chelsea council. The inspector agreed with the council, arguing that the one-home proposal did little to ‘optimise’ the site’s potential for a mix or accommodation. The inspector agreed that the loss the 12-room Clearlake hotel was acceptable. It had been closed for four year and had been on the market for 12 months without any interest. The inspector acknowledged that the Clearlake hotel was in decline and had received poor reviews from customers. This is a revised version, which applies to both seven homes and buildings. According to the Wall Street Journal, Davidovich received ownership of Abramovich’s British Virgin Islands company Norma Investments in February. Once described by Forbes as Abramovich’s ‘lower-profile right-hand man’, the two men have invested in many companies together.Davidovich’s current wealth is unknown but Forbes estimated in 2011 that it was $1.6 billion with the source of his fortune coming from Prodo, Russia’s second biggest meat and meat products processing company.In a brief statement via Design Solutions, which drew up the plans, Davidovich confirmed he was converting the two properties into seven homes.