Hedge Fund Manager's 'Iceberg Home' Melts

Mar 28 2014 | 4:58am ET

Bregal Capital founder Edmund Lazarus was set to get what many other London hedge fund managers have: a vast and luxurious basement larger than the house to which it was connected. At least, he was until two trees got in the way.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has rejected Lazarus' plan to build a 16,000-square-foot basement under his Holland Park house and its garden. It is the latter that appears to be the problem: The huge addition would span nearly the entirety of the garden, endangering the "health and vitality" of the two 60-foot tall trees that call it home.

That would risk "harmfully altering" the neighborhood, the council said.

Lazarus' planned £10 million basement would have included a huge swimming pool, a two-story gym with a sauna and steam rooms, a yoga studio, a wine cellar and a cigar room, creating a so-called "iceberg" home in which more than 50% of the living area is underground.

Lazarus, a major donor to the U.K.'s ruling Conservative Party and a close friend of Education Secretary Michael Gove, can appeal the decision.

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