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The Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, closely resembles Kim Yong Il’s unstable, goliath-like, hollow regime.

Even though construction of the hotel began in 1987, the government’s financial difficulties meant that building ceased in 1992, leaving the building with no windows, fixtures or fittings.

This state remained for the next 16 years, until Orascom Group resumed construction in April 2008.

Currently the world’s 24th tallest building – and at one time would have been the world’s tallest hotel – there are 105 stories reaching 330m (1083ft).

The refurbishment of the hotel is estimated to be completed by 2012, marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung (the Great Leader).

Then there is just one more hurdle to overcome – finding guests that will actually pay for the “luxury” of staying in the hermit kingdom’s monolithic masterpiece.

Simon Turner

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The first skyscraper to be erected in Paris in 30 years has been unveiled by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. Designed by Swiss architecture agency Herzog & De Meuron, the 50-storey pyramid-like tower rising 180 meters will be built at the Porte de Versailles in Paris.

The building is expected to include offices, a luxury hotel, luxury boutiques, a panoramic restaurant, a swimming pool, hanging gardens and a Babel-like “museum of languages of the world”.  Completion date is scheduled for 2012.

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You can soon own a notorious piece of history from Chicago, Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune.

No, this story isn’t related to Governor Blagojevich, as timely as this might be.

The modest, red-brick home once owned by prohibition gangster, Al Capone, will go on the market in early 2009  for approximately $450,000 USD.

The South Side, two-flat property, which has had just  two owners since the death of Capone’s mother in 1952, is now over a century old.  It stands near the corner of 72nd Street and South Prairie Avenue in the working-class Park Manor neighborhood.

Cook County records show the Capones bought the home for $5,500 USD in August 1923,  the Prohibition era, with his mother, Teresa, and wife, Mae, signing their names to the original deed.

Al Capone was in his early 20s when his family moved from Brooklyn to Chicago, but he was already building his legend. His bootlegging, gambling and prostitution enterprises were famously headquartered in Cicero and later moved to a suite in the old Lexington Hotel at Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

Capone died in 1947, but his mother remained in the home until her death five years later, at which point the property was taken over by a local bank.

The current owner purchased the home for $29,500 USD in 1963, with little interest in the property’s notoriety.

The exterior of the six-bedroom, split-level property remains pretty much unchanged to Capone’s time, and indeed much of the interior is also original, with detailed green and white tiles in the front entrance, dark hardwood floors and narrow hallways. The home also features a large basement with a crumbling wine cellar

At an estimated $450,000, the Capone home would be on the upper end of homes for sale in the neighborhood. Typical listings for large, split-levels of that vintage are $250,000 to $400,000.

Considering its history, the home is a marvel of inconspicuous understatement.

Simon Turner

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Contemporary, State of the Art, Rainforest Living

Setting a benchmark in state of the art living ‘Samara’ is without doubt one of the finest acreage properties in Queensland.

Strategically positioned amidst a previous wildlife sanctuary, ‘Samara’ is constructed seamlessly around two lakes and canter levered amidst a stunning rainforest back drop. This property is the epitome of designer living, offering only the finest in schedule of finish.

A fingerprint controls the gated entrance, and access to the estate. The circular driveway leads to a bold, resort style, port-cochere and a stunning entry with cascading ponds. Designed to embrace the Queensland lifestyle, this signature property highlights what true contemporary living is meant to be. From the commercial glass pane entrance, the property is washed with natural stone tiles, and natural lighting from the soaring ceilings and bi-fold doors.

The heart of the home is styled for entertaining with an open fire and a 50″ plasma screen, complete with 5.1 surround sound furbished by undetectable speakers. The mood of ‘Samara’ is defined by its unique use of lighting, all centrally controlled by the automation system. As you move through the house of an evening, 22 individual sensors monitor and predict movements and prepare the spaces around you, with soft lighting.

More information: Visit our website for more images and details.

Contact: Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email

The US Dollar is gaining strength, however, international real estate buyers are still important, even though their purchasing activity has decreased by 30-50 per cent since June 2008.

So where does the strength still reside? New developments. The W New York is a great example.

The W NY Downtown Hotel & Residence, the has seen 74 percent of buyers, thus far, come from overseas, 41% coming from Korea, 10% from the United Arab Emirates, and eight percent from Italy. This may come as a surprise if you’ve formed the opinion that the market is dominated by British and Russian buyers.

The 56-story building has 223 residential condominium residences, with prices ranging from $1.2 and $2.4 million. It’s hip, it’s dark, it’s cool, and there’s only a few remaining.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on New York; or Luxury Homes; or Investors

It’s big it’s hard…and this is serious work! “The Lancaster”, a luxury residential project besides Hyde Park in London is being gutted by the developer – all of the interior of a 125-meter long Grade II listed building – whilst seeking to preserve the building’s ornate façade.

Dating back to the mid-19th Century, the façade is now propped up by 500 tons of steel, hiding the masses of rubble now left behind.

Façade retention is unsurprisingly a somewhat delicate engineering operation. The external walls needed to be carefully secured prior to the interior demolition and sensors are continually monitoring the structures stability.

It’s the sheer scale of the project that makes this so daunting. Indeed, to allow for underground parking, crews dug beneath the existing structure to excavate 700 pillars to support a new concrete floor.

The Lancasters, scheduled for completion in 2010, will include 77 apartments, all of which will also offer views of Hyde Park, thanks to the 315 windows preserved from the original building. In addition to the apartments, there will also be two 10,000-square foot homes with private pools and wine cellars.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Architects; or Luxury Homes; or London

A little-known island, 130,000-square-meter island called Nurai, located northeast of Abu Dhabi, is the site of an amazing new residential resort. Consisting of one boutique hotel resort with 60 suites, 31 beachfront estates and 36 water villas, the project is a partnership between New York based Dror Benshetrit and the Paris-based firm AW2.

The multi-story water villas alone will span 515 square metres each, comprise three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a private rooftop terrace featuring a spa pool, private infinity pool, multiple decks, outdoor barbeque area, gourmet kitchen and concealed service quarters.

The private Ocean-side residences will feature five-bedroom and six-bathroom estates spanning between 3,000 and 6,050 square meters. These will include a private beach and terrace, rooftop garden with spa pool, infinity swimming pool, indoor reflecting pools, concealed service quarters, entertainment patios, outdoor dining areas, chef and show kitchens, and outdoor showers. The residences are on the market for in the vicinity of $US25 million.

Simon Turner

FYI: See related articles on Islands; Luxury Homes; and Homes of the Rich and Famous

Istanbul is fast becoming the cosmopolitan city of the moment, and the construction of Sapphire goes to show that this is a city on the move.

Billed as Europe’s tallest residential tower (which is a little perplexing given Turkey’s entry into the European Union is currently the subject of debate), it nonetheless is an impressive effort. When finished it will reach 261 metres, and include 54 floors. There are 22 different options of residences, ranging from 120m² – 1100 m².

There are indoor gardens at various levels, and every 10th floor is designed as recreation areas, such as a golf practice area at 163 meters with a great Bosphorus River view or a swimming pool at 33.5 metres overlooking Istanbul.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read more articles on The World’s Tallest Buildings; Towers; and Luxury Homes

This futuristic bar, designed by architect Zaha Hadid, is not just any piece of furniture and definitely goes where no bar has gone before. Finished with a metallic surface, it’s sweeping lines certainly wouldn’t look out of place on the Starship Enterprise. Or, if that’s not such a possibility right now, you could no doubt find a place for it within your home.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read more articles on Luxury Furniture or Architects

In New York City, a buyer has purchased a 1022 square metre, Richard Meier designed apartment for $US33 million, after a $US7 million price reduction.

Meier became a prominent architectural figure after his commission of the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and was in 1984 awarded the Pritzker Prize. His work is clearly defined by his use of shades of white, which of course has been used in many architectural landmark buildings throughout history, including cathedrals and the white-washed villages of the Mediterranean region, in Spain, southern Italy and Greece.

An interesting side note that whilst in no relation to Meier, is equally topical: Simon Turner 
The White House, home of the US President is not actually pure white in colour but “whisper white”.   Now there’s a piece of trivia that you now know, but may never get to use.  

Donald Trump recently stated that his real estate company will move into South Africa in a joint venture with local businessman Neill Bernstein. The two real estate honchos will work on a variety of properties, including golfing, hotel and residential developments. They have signed a 10 year agreement, and over the next couple of years plan to develop a myriad of new properties for sale.

Bernstein, owner of Devland Holdings, has indicated that there are a number of projects already in the works. He recently took Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of Trump and the man expected to lead the venture in South Africa, on a tour of potential projects and sites in South Africa.

The Trump Organization, which used to primarily focus its interests in the United States, has expanded overseas in recent years with new developments in Dubai, Panama, and Asia. Simon Turner

More information: Other Trump articles

There is a wide difference between a Home Theatre and the Home Theatre System.

For $US300,000 First Impressions Themed Theatres Inc. will produce for you a custom-designed home theatre: the floor vibrates, there are concealed bass absorbers, crystal blue LED lighting, motorized, red velvet armchairs including granite drink holders and condiment trays.

Great for a rainy day inside, great company and never-ending movies!

Simon Turner

From early on art has inspired everyone though paintings, body art, houses, and even rooms around the house. Furthermore, whilst the typical family size is shrinking, kitchens are becoming larger and an increasing focal point of the home.

As such, many people when renovating their home use many artistic influences, with designers currently trending towards the use of industrial appliances and heavy duty industrial materials for the bench-tops and cabinetry, and adding kitchen islands where space allows.

With the kitchen on average proving to be the second most expensive room in the household and the main decision making factor when purchasing a home, the kitchen is certainly the “focal point” of the household and the family.

Marquette Turner Luxury Homes frequently features hot and cool new trends for the kitchen and you can use our many articles as resources when renovating your home simply by clicking on the images below.

Simon Turner & Todd Hudson

With plenty of commotion of recent times regarding the cost of living, maybe this offering from Single House Front Architects is a solution.

Whilst your life would certainly be on show, the billboard-influenced home, designed for a single occupant, could enable your address to change with the seasons or even your mood.

Whether you’re looking for quiet times, a fantastic view, being close to work or even distanced from the relatives, this clever architectural offering will always provide the option of having a room with a view.

Simon Turner

The latest featured luxury property from Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is certainly a standout, and is one of the finest renovation examples that we have come across in a very long time.

View more images and information for 17 Curry Street, Merewether

For more information please contact Michael Marquette by phone on +61 433 170 170 or via email

View all luxury listings from MTLH

As energy prices continue to climb, the idea of utilizing solar energy is common sense. The process of getting solar panels installed, however, is quite the opposite.

RoofRay, a new Californian business, aims to give home owners better information to enable them to make more informed environmental decisions for their home. Using the site’s modeling tools, consumers can estimate how much solar energy a home could capture and how that would affect their monthly bills.

The data provided is based upon historical weather conditions, current power usage charges, the gradient of the property, and the maximum amount of solar paneling the roof can hold. One tool uses Google Maps to let users calculate the size of their roof and build virtual panels. RoofRay then estimates the output potential of the solar panels as well as financial considerations like costs of installation, upkeep and return on investment.

Whilst not yet available in Australia, such a tool would be a welcome addition to our growing eco-conscience and our excessive reliance on fossil fuels. Furthermore it would be useful for would-be real estate buyers in making purchase decisions, something that the Marquette Turner team are increasingly finding is a factor in how and where buyer’s buy.

To find out the latest information available in Australia, a good start is the federal government’s portal and Marquette Turner’s Clear the Air site

Simon Turner

Luxury Grand Mansion Estate

This exceptional luxury home in Stockton near Newcastle was built in 1897 and was originally known as “Quigley House“. Proudly presented by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, the home is built on a fabulous estate covering 2333 square metres.

The interior of the main building has been stunningly restored and renovated, retaining much of its original Victorian elegance. North Coast cedar is one of the many features of this magnificent residence as is the arched beveled glass. The home offers seven marble fireplaces, each with unique tile work.

The significant work completed on the house has resulted in a home with every modern convenience. The gardens have been completely remodeled and additions include a wonderful courtyard, oversized three car garage with abundant workshop space and a separate guest quarters.

For more information on this stunning property, please click on the images above or here

Expressions of Interest: closing 5pm 26 September 2008 (Price Guide: in the vicinity of $2million)

Contact:Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email orChristine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email

This boutique development of stunning new homes in Lauderdale Avenue, Fairlight on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is proudly presented to you by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes and features just three residences, all with magnificent views, private access, and exacting finishes.

Penthouse: This luxury two level penthouse apartment features a magnificent whole floor master suite, it also offers two more fabulous bedrooms with a separate private living area which opens onto a north facing sun soaked pool and spa (both are gas heated) with additional private access. Including the outdoor garden this sensational home extends over an area of 508 square metres and offers dual street access.

This huge luxury residence features a private lift and lobby which provides direct level access to the double secure garaging. There is travertine marble throughout, two living areas and there is a seamless flow onto the large terrace with showcases the stunning harbour views.

Price guide: $3.65 million

Number 1: This magnificent Luxury apartment offers breathtaking North Harbour views.

Located on the first floor this brand new home is spread over 392 square metres of indoor and outdoor living space and has a configuration of 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 2 car spaces.

Price guide: $2.95 million


Number 2: This stunning Luxury apartment also offers breathtaking North Harbour views.

Located on the second floor this brand new home is spread over 214 square metres of indoor and outdoor living space.

Price guide: $2.95 million


For further information or to request a viewing of these homes, please contact:

Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email

Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email



Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is proud to offer for sale this impeccably renovated and presented luxury home in Darlington, which is without doubt the finest home in the suburb.

This Luxury terrace home has been fully renovated throughout to the highest possible standard. Including every modern convenience this wonderful property has set a new benchmark for Darlington and surrounding suburbs.

Set over three floors and offering four bedrooms and reverse cycle air conditioning throughout, the home enjoys a fabulous northerly aspect and period features have been maintained. read more

Click on any of the images to learn more about this fantastic property.



Expressions of Interest closing 5pm on 26 September 2008
(Price Guide: In The Vicinity of $1.4 – $1.6 million)


Contact: Michael Marquette

Mobile: +61 433 170 170


With 20 acres of grounds featuring olive, cypress and lemon trees tended by 50 gardeners mean, Villa Leopolda is now the world’s most expensive home, having recently been purchased for $US750 million by an anonymous Russian.

Villa Leopolda

Villa Leopolda

A Belle Époque mansion, located in Villefrance on the Côte d’Azur, the property was sold by Lily Safra, the widow of Edmond Safra, a Lebanese banker who was killed by an arsonist’s fire in Monaco in 2003.

A few years ago it was rumored that the house had been bought by Bill Gates, and has recently been linked to many other members of the billionnaire club, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich. 

Villa Leopolda

Villa Leopolda

This villa has always been a spectacle.  Known to possess the best sea views in the south of France, the villa is spread across 10 acres of spotless grounds that run right downhill to the route of Villefranche.

At first built for Belgian King Leopold II’s mistresses, it was also once owned by Fiat tycoon, Gianni Agnelli.

Villa Leopolda

Villa Leopolda

Interestingly, the Huffington Post decided to crunch a few numbers, playing on everyone’s current financial concerns and reasserting why the rich look to use cash where possible: assume the buyer was able to finance at the standard 80%. That means he would put up about $US150 million and borrow $US 600 million.  At current private-banking rates for a 30-year fixed-around 6.5%-his monthly payments would be $3,792,408 a month.

That works out to $45,408,898 a year, or $1.3 billion over the life of the 30-year loan, proving once again why it pays to pay cash for your French castle.

Simon Turner

Simon Turner

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