Londoners have begun an extraordinary Olympic property "gold rush" - led by ex-England footballer Sol Campbell.
The Standard can reveal that the former Spurs and Arsenal defender is renting out his Chelsea townhouse for £75,000 a week - four times its value - during the Games.
Campbell's five-storey property in Cheyne Walk is the most expensive short-term rental on the London market during the Olympics. He is one of thousands of homeowners seeking to cash in on the 500,000 extra visitors, including
Hollywood stars, expected to flood in this summer.
Industry experts say rental prices have rocketed fivefold as spectators from more than 200 countries descend on London to watch their sporting heroes in action.
Jemma Scott, head of residential corporate services at estate agency Knight Frank, said: "It is utterly unique and a very exciting time. I have never seen anything like it. If you take the buzz that surrounds short-term rentals in Wimbledon each year and multiply that by a thousand you might get some idea of the Olympic market."
People with central London homes aim to take advantage of the Olympic "jet-set"- VIPs who want a central city base where they can monitor their own security. The Standard has learned that at least one Hollywood figure is among those scouting out family homes. The person will make a five-figure contribution to their Olympic team in return for prime tickets and a chauffeur.
Film stars who have recently attend the Games include Nicole Kidman, David Schwimmer and Vince Vaughn. The Standard also understands a private members' club in central London is set to ignore strict admission policies and open its doors in a bid to attract wealthy tourists.
Campbell's Cheyne Walk property, near the Thames, is close to the former homes of David Lloyd George, Lawrence Olivier, Geroge Best, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
The 7,000 sq ft, five-storey townhouse was designed by the 37-year-old's wife Fiona Barratt. It boasts a lift, cinema, gym and spa, seven bedrooms and secure underground walkway into a mews house for two residential staff.
During the Olympics, Campbell, who won 73 England caps, will move around the corner to a penthouse he owns on the Thames. He said: "We will definitely be in London for the Olympics, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'll be backing Team GB all the way, but look forward to welcoming others from all over the world.
"Cheyne Walk is such a fantastic location. Views of the Thames are unbeatable, especially at night when all lit up. Transport links are great and the best shopping and dining is on your doorstep." Ms Barratt added: "This house offers the perfect balance between a classical grade-II listed building and a great modern home designed for entertaining and luxury."
Meanwhile in Hampstead, Amit Soni, negotiator for agency Glentree International said: "We have had one discreet enquiry from an American who has a £1 million budget for a three-month rental over the Olympics on one of the private roads off Millionaire's Row. That is four times the normal price."
Beyond London, an Old Etonian boathouse on the Thames will be rented out for £8,500 a week during rowing finals at Eton Dorney, near Windsor Castle.
And an 18th-century castle in Portland, Dorset, is available to cash-rich visitors who want to take in the sailing at Weymouth. Pennsylvania Castle was built by the grandson of William Penn, who founded the American state.
It has nine bedrooms, an indoor pool and a helicopter pad. Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and General de Gaulle finalised plans for the D-Day landings there. Ian Munro-Price, of estate agent Red House, said: "In terms of high-end property there's so very little close to the Olympic venue, so there is sure to be a huge demand."
Demand for short-term rentals at the other end of the market is also at an unprecedented high, according to Crashpadder.com, which helps people rent spare bedrooms as an alternative to hotels.
Source: Evening Standard