Bill Gates' Four Seasons has put down a $21 million down payment toward the $170 million purchase price of the Palazzo Marini in Rome (above)
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Bill Gates is purchasing a palazzo in Rome to convert into a lavish six-star hotel through Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts – which he co-owns with a Saudi prince.

Four Seasons has put down a $21 million down payment toward the $170 million purchase price of the Palazzo Marini, a sprawling 17th-century complex just steps away from the Trevi Fountain, the Daily Beast reported, citing documents viewed at Rome’s City Hall.   

Gates, through his Cascade Investment LLC, controls Four Seasons alongside a minority investment from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s self-styled answer to Warren Buffett.

Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Company has made millions investing in companies such as Uber, Citigroup and Lyft, and the firm is one of the outside financial backers of Elon Musk’s pending Twitter buyout. 

Bill Gates' Four Seasons has put down a $21 million down payment toward the $170 million purchase price of the Palazzo Marini in Rome (above)

Bill Gates’ Four Seasons has put down a $21 million down payment toward the $170 million purchase price of the Palazzo Marini in Rome (above)

Gates, through his Cascade Investment LLC, controls Four Seasons

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia's self-styled answer to Warren Buffett, owns 23.75% of Four Seasons through his Kingdom Holding Company

Gates, through his Cascade Investment LLC, controls Four Seasons alongside a minority investment from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (right)

Cascade and KHC first partnered up to take Four Seasons private in 2007. In January, Cascade upped its stake in the joint venture to 71.25 percent, buying half of KHC’s prior 47.5 percent stake for $2.21 billion.

It left KHC with a 23.75 percent stake in Four Seasons. Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp, the company’s chairman, also retains a 5 percent stake in the luxury hotel chain.

Alwaleed, 67, had long kept a tight grip on Kingdom’s shares, owning all but the 5 percent traded on the Saudi stock market, until Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund purchased a 16.87 percent stake for $1.5 billion last month. 

A spokesperson for Four Seasons did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the company’s plans for the Palazzo Marini on Monday evening.

By all accounts, Four Seasons will face a major project in converting the sprawling Palazzo Marini into Rome’s first six-star hotel. 

The complex consists of four separate blocks and takes up one side of the Piazza San Silvestro in central Rome.

Several years ago, much of the ground floor was converted into a pop-up Ikea store selling affordable home goods to Rome’s urban dwellers.

Several years ago, much of the building's ground floor was converted into a pop-up Ikea store selling affordable home goods to Rome's urban dwellers

Several years ago, much of the building’s ground floor was converted into a pop-up Ikea store selling affordable home goods to Rome’s urban dwellers

Much of the ground floor of the historic palazzo is currently an Ikea store, seen above

Much of the ground floor of the historic palazzo is currently an Ikea store, seen above

The upper floors host a cafeteria for lawmaker’s in the lower house of Italy’s parliament, which is a few streets over.

However, the building boasts an envious location for attracting tourists, located not far from the famed Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Via Condotti, the center of fashion shopping in Rome.

Construction on the palazzo was started, but not finished, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1650, and over the years it was home to a string of nobles.

At one point Pope Innocent XII took possession and converted the building into the headquarters of the Pontifical Tribunal.

But in recent years the property has languished after real estate developer Sergio Scarpellini unloaded in a fire sale following his 2016 arrest on bribery charges.

A fund snapped up the palazzo from Scarpellini as part of an $800 million bundle of properties, and several developers had shown interest until the COVID-19 pandemic decimated Rome’s tourist trade.

Construction on the Palazzo Marini (above) was started, but not finished, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1650, and over the years it was home to a string of nobles

Construction on the Palazzo Marini (above) was started, but not finished, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1650, and over the years it was home to a string of nobles

Now, Four Seasons plans to spend $120 million renovating the building, according to the purchase papers reported by the Daily Beast, which are only visible in person at Rome’s city hall.

The luxury hotel is expected to have about 100 rooms, and could include space for a conference center, gym and spa. 

Four Seasons has an existing portfolio of 122 hotels and resorts and 48 residential properties in 47 countries around the world. 

The company announced in January that it has more than 50 new projects under planning or development, including in Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Colombia, Belize and across key markets in the US. 

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