From London to Los Angeles, some homeowners are burying their most opulent spaces underground. The rise of the subterranean mansion.
As values for prime real estate begin to recover, the number of home-building permit applications that include a significant percentage of square footage underground has swelled. In London’s Kensington and Chelsea neighborhoods, planning applications for subterranean development increased to 225 in 2011 from 179 in 2009, according to the borough. Alexander Lewis of Knight Frank says the phenomenon is growing in high-end neighborhoods because “people see it as a huge value to add to their property.”…Some luxury-home builders are aiming to avoid the exterior footprint of a megamansion—without sacrificing the square footage or oversized amenities. Others are looking for a way around development restrictions that limit home sizes above ground. In many cases, the décor of these underground spaces rivals what’s upstairs, with high ceilings, hand-painted mosaic tiles and limestone floors. By Candace Jackson, March 16, 2012, WSJ