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Bill Gates buys 17th century palazzo in Rome for $170 million

Bill Gates buys a palazzo in Rome to convert it into a lavish six-star hotel through Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts — which he co-owns with a Saudi prince.

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

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

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

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

Bill Gates’ Four Seasons has made a $21 million down payment for 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-proclaimed 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 of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (right)

Cascade and KHC first partnered to acquire Four Seasons in 2007. In January, Cascade increased its stake in the joint venture to 71.25 percent, buying half of KHC’s previous 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, will also retain a 5 percent stake in the luxury hotel chain.

Alwaleed, 67, held a firm grip on Kingdom shares for a long time, owning all but the 5 percent traded in the Saudi stock market, until Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund bought a 16.87 percent stake for $16.87 last month. 1.5 billion.

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

By all accounts, Four Seasons is on a major project to transform the sprawling Palazzo Marini into Rome’s first six-star hotel.

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

Several years ago, much of the ground floor was converted into a pop-up Ikea store that sells affordable household items to city dwellers in Rome.

Several years ago, much of the ground floor of the building was converted into a pop-up Ikea store selling affordable household items to city dwellers in Rome

Several years ago, much of the ground floor of the building was converted into a pop-up Ikea store selling affordable household items to city dwellers in Rome

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

On the upper floors is a cafeteria for legislators in the lower house of the Italian Parliament, a few blocks away.

However, the building has an enviable location for attracting tourists, not far from the famous Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti, the center of fashion shopping in Rome.

Construction of the palazzo was started, but not completed, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1650, and over the years it has been home to a series 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 was set on fire after his arrest in 2016 on bribery charges.

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

Construction of the Palazzo Marini (above) was started, but not completed, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1650, and over the years it has been home to a series of nobles

Construction of the Palazzo Marini (above) was started, but not completed, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1650, and over the years it has been home to a series of nobles

Now Four Seasons plans to spend $120 million to renovate the building, according to purchase papers reported by the Daily Beast, which are only visible in person at Rome City Hall.

The luxury hotel is expected to have about 100 rooms and may 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 in planning or development, including in Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Colombia, Belize and in key US markets.

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