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Bill Gates buys 17th century palazzo near Rome’s storied Spanish Steps for $170 million to convert into the city’s first six-star hotel – in partnership with Saudi prince who is ALSO backing Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover
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 (pictured), 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.
A spokesperson for Four Seasons did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the company’s plans for the Palazzo Marini (pictured) 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. 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. 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.