DBPR asked property experts Simon Barnes, Giles Cook and James Robinson about London’s destination streets; how a street can turn an area around and make it a desirable place to hub around.
Simon Barnes of H.Barnes & Co
“Howard de Walden provided the template for a ‘destination street’ with the transformation of Marylebone High Street. Since then, we have seen the same process unravel across some of London’s key post codes. Mount Street and Elizabeth Street under the guidance of The Grosvenor Estate, Chiltern Street with The Portman Estate and most recently, Pavilion Road with Cadogan Estates.
In each case, a careful strategy has been implemented which has seen independent retailers opening specialist shops, cafes, bars etc and as a result, these streets have become increasingly desirable with both a domestic and international crowd. And as they have become more appealing as places to go to eat, shop and drink…so too have they become more popular as places in which to live and that has led to steady price increases in each of the local areas.”
Giles Cook of Best Gapp
“The recent transformation of Victoria and in particular Victoria Street has been extraordinary and incredibly exciting to watch. What was previously considered a central business district renowned for West End theatre productions, unsightly 1960’s office blocks and the famous coach station. The whole area now offers high end residential developments, smart modern office buildings, boutique shops, restaurants and cafes coupled with the recognised high street retail brands and several estate agency branches. All this naturally impacts on the feel, look and atmosphere of the area and ultimately property prices (which were always seen as better value for money than its more salubrious neighbours Belgravia, Pimlico and Westminster).
Based in Elizabeth Street, Best Gapp has been operating in the area for over 100 years and has experienced many regenerations in that time. Elizabeth Street itself has always been a popular exclusive destination for the discerning customer, however it has also recently undergone a face lift making it one of London’s most fashionable and aesthetically pleasing residential and lifestyle destinations. Popular eateries such as The Thomas Cubitt and Ebury Street Wine Bar have been joined by Baker and Spice Café and chic bakery Peggy Porschen cakes. Tourist flock to the street mixing with local residents to create a wonderful vibe and hive of activity.”
James Robinson of Lurot Brand
“What the Howard De Walden estate did with Marylebone High Street has to be the most impressive turnaround of a failing, down at heel high street, with all the problems that blight high streets from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
They created what is a very replicable template, that is subsequently being adopted by other estates such as Grosvenor and Cadogan and incorporated these key principles:
- Get rid of all the Starbucks, Neros, supermarkets, newsagents, Pizza Express, nail bars, estate agents etc.
- Invite artisan bakers, specialist butchers and grocers, fish mongers, couture anything. Gastro bars and Michelin starred restaurateurs etc and create a destination ‘village’ suited to the location that exudes atmosphere and independence.
- Organise shopping events, farmers market, Summer and Christmas street parties etc.”
They say to find the next property hot spot one should look where celebrity chefs are opening restaurants, however if you really want to get in early look for where a really popular Starbucks closes down. The Portobello end of Westbourne Grove was catapulted in the 1990’s from an area dominated by antique dealers to what is now a super slick street of great organic grocers and fashionable clothes boutiques by Warren Todd who used the same template as Howard De Walden along Marylebone High Street. Now you can pop into Tamara Eccleston’s ‘Show’ for a purse withering blow dry while your boyfriend queues in the rain for at least 45 minutes to get a table at the Graingers, where you simply must have a buckwheat bowl, poached egg, goat’s yoghurt, rose harissa, avocado and sunflower sprouts.”
Marylebone High Street – Image Credit: By Philafrenzy (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
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