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Property Week

IDM ready to start revamp of iconic Hoover Building

IDM Properties has accelerated its plans to redevelop the iconic Hoover Building in north London for residential use.

The construction start date for the 66-home scheme has been brought forward from the beginning of next year to September.

Built in 1932, the grade II-listed Art Deco building, which is located on the A40 a short walk from Perivale tube station, was used as a factory for Hoover until 1982 and until recently was owned by Tesco.

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“We take special pride in the realisation of this project due

to the amount of time and red tape to overcome and the careful negotiations needed,”  said Christian Desira, a director at DeVono Cresa, which negotiated the deal for IDM to buy the property from Tesco.

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Property Week

Devono Partners with Cresa to grow global reach

UK tenant-only representation agency DeVono has partnered with multinational US-based conflict-free agent CRESA to form DeVono Cresa.

The DeVono Cresa partnership aims to enable UK firms expanding into cities and countries around the world to do so under the guidance and expertise of one tenant-only firm.

DeVono founder Robert Leigh said: “We are excited to embrace an international platform with Cresa, a company that shares our business ideals while embracing our unique, no conflict, tenant-only approach to commercial property advice. 

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“With London holding its position as the global capital of commerce, this relationship will strengthen our joint positions on a global scale.”

Having launched in 1993 and with more than 60 offices in North America and presence in more than 700 global cities, Cresa is the world’s largest tenant-only commercial property advisor. 

DeVono pioneered tenant-only representation in the UK in 2003 and has clients including, Red Bull, Eon, Mimecast and Manchester United.

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Property Week

Time to act on conflicts of interest in property, study warns

The property sector is at risk of serious reputational damage if it does not put in place more robust rules to curtail ‘double-dipping’, a major study has warned.

University of Leeds report on conflicts of interest in property, shared exclusively with Property Week, called for the RICS to produce “beefed-up” guidance in order to better regulate the practice of agents from the same firm working on both sides of a deal.
The 160-page study (attached right), the first comprehensive examination of conflicts of interest in property, raised serious doubts over the industry’s ability to effectively self-regulate dual agency and said there were “clear risks” in relying on the use of “ad hoc” Chinese walls. These are meant to prevent the sharing of information within firms, but the report said the walls were “prone to being breached”.

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“We can’t just take it at face value that these information walls are trustworthy,” said Adam Baker, a lecturer in property law at the University of Leeds and a co-author of the report. “There are clear issues with them. We want to get past the situation where a firm says: ‘Well, we have our information wall and that’s fine.’ We feel that’s totally insufficient.”
Baker said it was “very difficult” for clients to spot a “suboptimal” deal. “There’s a difference between a skewed deal, which could be readily spotted, and a deal that’s been subtly distorted,” he said. “It’s more about slightly altering the deal and we just don’t believe that kind of subtle wrongdoing will be picked up.”
The report said current RICS guidance was “inadequate” and contained “numerous flaws”, although Baker acknowledged that the RICS had established a working group focused on drawing up a new code of practice.
The Investment Property Forum has established a protocol to address conflicts of interest on the investment side of the industry, but Baker said there was a danger that if property did not put in place more robust regulation it could lead to serious reputational damage.
Gary Strong, director of practice standards and technical guidance at the RICS, said the organisation was undertaking an extensive review of its guidance on conflicts of interest and it would soon publish a new set of “mandatory” RICS rules. “This is a major issue and one we have been tackling,” he said.
However, Jeremy Grey, director of management company at James Andrew International, said a new RICS code would not be a silver bullet. “I’m not convinced they have the manpower to police it - plus it only ties the hands of the chartered surveyors and leaves others to act with impunity,” he added.
Philip Sandzer, director of DeVono Property, which commissioned the report, said stronger action was needed. “Over many years, tenants have been getting poor deals as a result of dual agency - and they continue to do so. It needs to be dealt with once and for all.”
KEY FINDINGS OF THE REPORT
Market forces are of limited effectiveness in mitigating conflicts of interest in property
Conflicts of interest that undermine clients in subtle way may well go unnoticed and unpunished. Many clients will not have the time, expertise or information to adequately assess whether an unmanaged conflict has led to them receiving a poorer service than they would otherwise have received.
The law offers some useful safeguards, but does not go far enough
The law offers some helpful rules for the protection of clients. But these are also lacking in some key respects. The time and cost of litigation may also deter clients from bringing a claim
There are clear risks with relying on the self-management of conflicts by property agents, in particular by information walls
There are various well established risks with information barriers. They include the scope for informal breaches, the problem of persons having to sit astride the wall, and the difficulty of having truly separate teams in smaller firms. There are also further dangers in this area, due to the fact that information walls between property agents are only set up ad hoc, when a firm deems them to be necessary.  Such ad hoc walls are more prone to being breached than permanent ones. In addition some firms may take a much more lenient view of when such a wall is necessary than other ones.
The RICS guidance on the issue of conflict of interest is inadequate in some crucial respects - it needs to be substantially rewritten
There a numerous flaws in the RICS guidance, it lacks clarity and it sets the bar lower than even the general law does.  In some crucial respects it is not worded strongly enough – for these reasons it may fail to encourage suitably high standards of conduct by commercial real estate agents who are RICS members.
More could be done to promote the enforcement of the RICS guidance
RICS is not doing enough to help clients, not only to understand the duties of member agents under its guidance, but also to know how to bring complaints against them.  It is also concerning that many agents are not subject to any code that is as strong as the RICS guidance, even despite its weaknesses
“It is time for action to be taken. At the very least, we propose that RICS beefs up its guidance in this area and does more to help clients.  But even this might not be enough. It will probably not do much to help clients and managers who oversee commercial property agents to spot the sort of subtle wrongdoing that may occur in practice. The scope for such actions to go undetected is a threat that runs through this report.  Unless such conduct is identified frequently, there will not be a sufficient deterrent against it.”
 
THE RICS VIEW
RICS absolutely agrees that this is a major issue and one that we have been engaged in tackling over the last 18 months. We invited the team at Leeds university to participate in our work when we were commencing the current review and we now welcome the findings of this report which we will consider amongst the consultation responses we receive.
 All RICS qualified professionals and RICS regulated firms are required to meet our principles based Rules of Conduct which require them to “avoid conflicts of interest and avoid any actions or situations that are inconsistent with their professional obligations” . We regulate RICS members and firms to ensure this overriding principle is met and RICS demands the highest standards from built environment professionals.
It is essential that our standards are constantly evolving and that we remain fit-for-purpose in the face of changing market conditions.  For this reason we undertook extensive market research commencing in Spring 2015 last year along with an extensive review of our existing guidance. Since then we have been working with a wide range of industry leaders from across the real estate, legal and banking sectors.
Following this, a major review of our rules on conflicts of interest is now nearing completion.  The industry leaders have been working with us to develop additional, mandatory RICS rules and supporting guidance on the identification and management of conflicts of interest across the profession. This will ensure consistency of interpretation of the overarching rule of conduct. The final consultation draft of the new rules is due to be issued next month and we urge all industry stakeholders and participants to engage with our consultation when it is released.
Gary Strong, director of practice standards and technical guidance, RICS.

University of Leeds report on conflicts of interest in property, shared exclusively with Property Week, called for the RICS to produce “beefed-up” guidance in order to better regulate the practice of agents from the same firm working on both sides of a deal.

The 160-page study (attached right), the first comprehensive examination of conflicts of interest in property, raised serious doubts over the industry’s ability to effectively self-regulate dual agency and said there were “clear risks” in relying on the use of “ad hoc” Chinese walls. These are meant to prevent the sharing of information within firms, but the report said the walls were “prone to being breached”.

“We can’t just take it at face value that these information walls are trustworthy,” said Adam Baker, a lecturer in property law at the University of Leeds and a co-author of the report. “There are clear issues with them. We want to get past the situation where a firm says: ‘Well, we have our information wall and that’s fine.’ We feel that’s totally insufficient.

”Baker said it was “very difficult” for clients to spot a “suboptimal” deal. “There’s a difference between a skewed deal, which could be readily spotted, and a deal that’s been subtly distorted,” he said. “It’s more about slightly altering the deal and we just don’t believe that kind of subtle wrongdoing will be picked up.

”The report said current RICS guidance was “inadequate” and contained “numerous flaws”, although Baker acknowledged that the RICS had established a working group focused on drawing up a new code of practice.

The Investment Property Forum has established a protocol to address conflicts of interest on the investment side of the industry, but Baker said there was a danger that if property did not put in place more robust regulation it could lead to serious reputational damage.

Gary Strong, director of practice standards and technical guidance at the RICS, said the organisation was undertaking an extensive review of its guidance on conflicts of interest and it would soon publish a new set of “mandatory” RICS rules. “This is a major issue and one we have been tackling,” he said.

However, Jeremy Grey, director of management company at James Andrew International, said a new RICS code would not be a silver bullet. “I’m not convinced they have the manpower to police it - plus it only ties the hands of the chartered surveyors and leaves others to act with impunity,” he added.

Philip Sandzer, director of DeVono Property, which commissioned the report, said stronger action was needed. “Over many years, tenants have been getting poor deals as a result of dual agency - and they continue to do so. It needs to be dealt with once and for all.”


KEY FINDINGS OF THE REPORT

Market forces are of limited effectiveness in mitigating conflicts of interest in propertyConflicts of interest that undermine clients in subtle way may well go unnoticed and unpunished. Many clients will not have the time, expertise or information to adequately assess whether an unmanaged conflict has led to them receiving a poorer service than they would otherwise have received.

The law offers some useful safeguards, but does not go far enoughThe law offers some helpful rules for the protection of clients. But these are also lacking in some key respects. The time and cost of litigation may also deter clients from bringing a claim

There are clear risks with relying on the self-management of conflicts by property agents, in particular by information wallsThere are various well established risks with information barriers. They include the scope for informal breaches, the problem of persons having to sit astride the wall, and the difficulty of having truly separate teams in smaller firms. There are also further dangers in this area, due to the fact that information walls between property agents are only set up ad hoc, when a firm deems them to be necessary.  Such ad hoc walls are more prone to being breached than permanent ones. In addition some firms may take a much more lenient view of when such a wall is necessary than other ones.

The RICS guidance on the issue of conflict of interest is inadequate in some crucial respects - it needs to be substantially rewrittenThere a numerous flaws in the RICS guidance, it lacks clarity and it sets the bar lower than even the general law does.  In some crucial respects it is not worded strongly enough – for these reasons it may fail to encourage suitably high standards of conduct by commercial real estate agents who are RICS members.

More could be done to promote the enforcement of the RICS guidanceRICS is not doing enough to help clients, not only to understand the duties of member agents under its guidance, but also to know how to bring complaints against them.  It is also concerning that many agents are not subject to any code that is as strong as the RICS guidance, even despite its weaknesses“It is time for action to be taken. At the very least, we propose that RICS beefs up its guidance in this area and does more to help clients.  But even this might not be enough. It will probably not do much to help clients and managers who oversee commercial property agents to spot the sort of subtle wrongdoing that may occur in practice. The scope for such actions to go undetected is a threat that runs through this report.  Unless such conduct is identified frequently, there will not be a sufficient deterrent against it.” 


THE RICS VIEW

RICS absolutely agrees that this is a major issue and one that we have been engaged in tackling over the last 18 months. We invited the team at Leeds university to participate in our work when we were commencing the current review and we now welcome the findings of this report which we will consider amongst the consultation responses we receive. 

All RICS qualified professionals and RICS regulated firms are required to meet our principles based Rules of Conduct which require them to “avoid conflicts of interest and avoid any actions or situations that are inconsistent with their professional obligations” . We regulate RICS members and firms to ensure this overriding principle is met and RICS demands the highest standards from built environment professionals.

It is essential that our standards are constantly evolving and that we remain fit-for-purpose in the face of changing market conditions. For this reason we undertook extensive market research commencing in Spring 2015 last year along with an extensive review of our existing guidance. Since then we have been working with a wide range of industry leaders from across the real estate, legal and banking sectors.

Following this, a major review of our rules on conflicts of interest is now nearing completion.  The industry leaders have been working with us to develop additional, mandatory RICS rules and supporting guidance on the identification and management of conflicts of interest across the profession. This will ensure consistency of interpretation of the overarching rule of conduct. The final consultation draft of the new rules is due to be issued next month and we urge all industry stakeholders and participants to engage with our consultation when it is released.

Gary Strong, director of practice standards and technical guidance, RICS.

Hide

Property Week

Alan Yau: a true food visionary

People are taking their seats in excited anticipation. The beer is flowing and a waiter wafts past with 
a plate of delicious-smelling food.
In a corner at the back of the dining area, the man who has curated this culinary scene sits in quiet 
contemplation - turning down the offer of food himself and ordering only a jasmine tea. He prefers not 
to eat and talk at the same time, he says, as some chilli and shallot cashew nuts, edamame beans and 
rilled Iberico ham are brought out to keep the rest of the troops happy (ish… it is lunch time, some of 
us are hungry and the smells are tantalising).
We are upstairs in Duck + Rice, restaurant entrepreneur Alan Yau’s latest venture, which combines the 
great British institution of the pub and a Chinese restaurant. It is easy to forget these days, with 
the myriad street-food and mono-food outlets everywhere, that not so long ago good-quality ethnic fast 
food was largely the preserve of one-off restaurants or dedicated districts. Hong Kong-born Yau played 
a major role in changing that, first by founding the Wagamama food chain, which he sold in 1997, and 
then raising the bar further with London restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha.
Now he is moving the gastronomic goalposts again with Duck + Rice, which opened its doors in April in 
Soho, and Babaji, which opened in December also in Soho, and he hopes will bring the pide - a Turkish 
version of pizza - to the masses. He reveals to Property Week what inspires him to come up with such 
quirky ideas, what his aspirations are for the two new formats and what he thinks about the competition.
Multicultural concept
But first thing’s first, he wants to make one thing clear: Duck + Rice is not a gastropub.
“A gastropub is really almost the kitchen taking over the pub, so the majority of the place becomes a 
sit-down venue,” he says. “To maintain the independence and integrity of the pub, we created a separate 
dining room so the pub area remains a pub. Journalists said that Duck + Rice was the next evolution of 
the gastropub. But what you’ve got is a pub and a dining room.”
If Heston Blumenthal is a molecular gastronomist who has made cooking a science, Yau is a social one who 
has made it a multicultural concept, and not a particularly politically correct one at that. “A lot of the 
time, I do what I do here because I find the whole thing quite enjoyable to dissect and put together,” he says. 
“The essence of a pub is about humour and I was quite sure that if I put an old chop suey house into the mix 
with the pint it would work, because in their own way they have become their own British 
institution: a chinky and a pint.”
He happily concedes that some journalists don’t get it. “They think it’s a bad idea to retrospectively go back 
to something that’s not credible in the first place, but I like that way,” he says. “If someone doesn’t get the 
joke, it’s fine.” And he really is, perhaps because many do get it - and of those who don’t, most do get the food. 
The menu is not purely devoted to Chinese food, as proved by the Iberico ham. It is devoted to food that tastes good, 
most of which happens to be Chinese. In terms of the drinks on offer, the star beer is an unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell 
from the Czech Republic.
“This is based on the anglicised Chinese cooking of yesterday,” he says. “The evolution is that we are not selling authenticity. 
The fact is we’ve put a Spanish ham on the menu. I do it for the love of the dish and it goes really well with a pint. The 
intellectual argument is not about authenticity. Chips and curry sauce - it’s about that.”
It is hard to believe that the seed of Duck + Rice (and the predecessors that earned Yau an OBE in 2006) were sown in the 1970s in, 
of all places, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where he moved when he was 12. He is not keen to reminisce about his childhood there, but it has 
undoubtedly spurred him on to achieve the successes he has and arguably shaped his culinary vision. While the first Duck + Rice came 
about because the property was available, the unusual concept was simmering away for years.
“I tend to think about ideas intellectually; it develops like a set of algorithms,” Yau says. “They naturally develop until they are 
strong enough. Trends and fads don’t worry me. What worries me is that I have something that is fully resolved in terms of the idea. 
This is a fun thing; it’s nice to do an English pub with a Chinese kitchen serving comfort food.”
You almost pity the agent tasked with satisfying such an exacting requirement. Yau is advised by occupier-only property advisers DeVono 
and it sounds as though they are going to be busy in the coming months. Duck + Rice is a three-floor establishment covering 4,600 sq ft. 
What Yau would ideally like is either 5,000 sq ft or 3,000 sq ft on a single floor, but he is not the only one looking for that sort of space. 
“There is a lot of competition with the pubs themselves. Everyone has a price and space tends to be very expensive.”
Despite the “perverse economics” involved, he says he has the funding in place to implement a significant rollout of Duck + Rice. He hopes to 
open two more outlets next year, initially in central London, and by 2017 to have three to five further sites in central London, plus one 
in Dubai. Once those are up and running, he would like to appoint a pub industry chief executive and go to a second round of fundraising, 
at which point he would focus on the UK - big style. “The internal market is so strong, I don’t need to go anywhere else. I would be happy 
for this to go to 100 units.”
It sounds ambitious, but you wouldn’t bet against the man who came up with Wagamama, and his aspirations for Babaji are no less bold.
“I hope I can elevate pide into an acceptable alternative to the pizza,” Yau says. “The aspiration is to mimic the business model of 
Pizza Express. I don’t have a problem if we don’t achieve that in my lifetime. I would consider it a success if we become the forerunner 
in taking pide out of the ethnic backwater into the mainstream.”
Mono mania
Again, Dubai features in his plans. The short-term intention is to open a second site, in Dubai, after Christmas, he says. “That’s going 
to be a dry concept and will be bigger because that’s going to be our flagship,” he says. “Following that, in the last quarter of 2016, 
we’re opening a second site in Dubai.”
And again, the initial focus will be London. This time, though, the units will be supported by a central kitchen, allowing it to reduce 
the size of the property to 2,000 sq ft. “The ideal is to have two to six units open in 2016 and five more in 2017,” he says, adding that 
while the central kitchen has not yet been acquired, he is eyeing Hackney: “We haven’t found a site, but we have a location in mind.”
The last year has seen a proliferation of mono-product restaurants and Yau is fascinated by the concept, so much so that it is what he 
would like to have done with Babaji, and may still do. “The numbers show that the more you narrow the focus, the better your product will be,
” he says. “In Japan, mono products are a given if you want to give yourself more credibility. I love mono products as a concept.”
The problem, he says, is that if a restaurateur comes up with a winning concept, they will inevitably try to upscale the operation and 
“lose the plot” by shifting their focus away from the integrity of the food to the property required. “You need to grow the offer in order 
to go to your new equilibrium. It doesn’t work.”
Not as a mass-market proposition anyway, which, as Yau points out, he has spent a lifetime pursuing. The culinary polar opposite is, of 
course, Blumenthal’s molecular gastronomy, but each to their own, he says. “I admire the enquiry side, but he is a chemist. What he does 
is more science based. I see cooking as a craft.”
Yau draws inspiration from Japan, where ingredients are everything. “They say a craft-based Japanese bartender will only offer a Bellini 
six weeks of the year because the white peach comes out at the end of July and finishes in the first week of September,” he says. “Then 
they will move on to something else. That is more to my spirit.”
The irony in aspiring to the mass market is that he sold Wagamama before it achieved that status. Yau is not bitter, but you get the sense 
he would like to stay a little longer at the helms of Duck + Rice and Babaji. “I prefer not to comment on Wagamama,” he says. “It’s a concept 
I always wanted to become mainstream and I was involved in for five years. With Babaji and Duck + Rice, I’ve found a better way to expand, 
which is about putting in senior management to each of the two to give them better focus.”
Yau is clearly confident Duck + Rice and Babaji have the capacity to grow significantly. They may not win him Michelin stars but, as he says,
“each has the potential to attract a certain type of people” - and you would think rather a lot of them, thanks to Yau’s unique fusion of 
British and ethnic culinary sensibilities.

People are taking their seats in excited anticipation. The beer is flowing and a waiter wafts past with a plate of delicious-smelling food.

In a corner at the back of the dining area, the man who has curated this culinary scene sits in quiet contemplation - turning down the offer of food himself and ordering only a jasmine tea. He prefers not to eat and talk at the same time, he says, as some chilli and shallot cashew nuts, edamame beans and rilled Iberico ham are brought out to keep the rest of the troops happy (ish… it is lunch time, some of us are hungry and the smells are tantalising).

Read more

We are upstairs in Duck + Rice, restaurant entrepreneur Alan Yau’s latest venture, which combines the great British institution of the pub and a Chinese restaurant. It is easy to forget these days, with the myriad street-food and mono-food outlets everywhere, that not so long ago good-quality ethnic fast food was largely the preserve of one-off restaurants or dedicated districts. Hong Kong-born Yau played a major role in changing that, first by founding the Wagamama food chain, which he sold in 1997, and then raising the bar further with London restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha.

Now he is moving the gastronomic goalposts again with Duck + Rice, which opened its doors in April in Soho, and Babaji, which opened in December also in Soho, and he hopes will bring the pide - a Turkish version of pizza - to the masses. He reveals to Property Week what inspires him to come up with such quirky ideas, what his aspirations are for the two new formats and what he thinks about the competition.

Multicultural concept

But first thing’s first, he wants to make one thing clear: Duck + Rice is not a gastropub.“A gastropub is really almost the kitchen taking over the pub, so the majority of the place becomes a sit-down venue,” he says. “To maintain the independence and integrity of the pub, we created a separate dining room so the pub area remains a pub. Journalists said that Duck + Rice was the next evolution of the gastropub. But what you’ve got is a pub and a dining room.”

If Heston Blumenthal is a molecular gastronomist who has made cooking a science, Yau is a social one who has made it a multicultural concept, and not a particularly politically correct one at that. “A lot of the time, I do what I do here because I find the whole thing quite enjoyable to dissect and put together,” he says. “The essence of a pub is about humour and I was quite sure that if I put an old chop suey house into the mix with the pint it would work, because in their own way they have become their own British institution: a chinky and a pint.”

He happily concedes that some journalists don’t get it. “They think it’s a bad idea to retrospectively go back to something that’s not credible in the first place, but I like that way,” he says. “If someone doesn’t get the joke, it’s fine.” And he really is, perhaps because many do get it - and of those who don’t, most do get the food. The menu is not purely devoted to Chinese food, as proved by the Iberico ham. It is devoted to food that tastes good, most of which happens to be Chinese. In terms of the drinks on offer, the star beer is an unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic.

“This is based on the anglicised Chinese cooking of yesterday,” he says. “The evolution is that we are not selling authenticity. The fact is we’ve put a Spanish ham on the menu. I do it for the love of the dish and it goes really well with a pint. The intellectual argument is not about authenticity. Chips and curry sauce - it’s about that.”

It is hard to believe that the seed of Duck + Rice (and the predecessors that earned Yau an OBE in 2006) were sown in the 1970s in, of all places, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where he moved when he was 12. He is not keen to reminisce about his childhood there, but it has undoubtedly spurred him on to achieve the successes he has and arguably shaped his culinary vision. While the first Duck + Rice came about because the property was available, the unusual concept was simmering away for years.

“I tend to think about ideas intellectually; it develops like a set of algorithms,” Yau says. “They naturally develop until they are strong enough. Trends and fads don’t worry me. What worries me is that I have something that is fully resolved in terms of the idea. This is a fun thing; it’s nice to do an English pub with a Chinese kitchen serving comfort food.”

You almost pity the agent tasked with satisfying such an exacting requirement. Yau is advised by occupier-only property advisers DeVono and it sounds as though they are going to be busy in the coming months. Duck + Rice is a three-floor establishment covering 4,600 sq ft. What Yau would ideally like is either 5,000 sq ft or 3,000 sq ft on a single floor, but he is not the only one looking for that sort of space. “There is a lot of competition with the pubs themselves. Everyone has a price and space tends to be very expensive.”

Despite the “perverse economics” involved, he says he has the funding in place to implement a significant rollout of Duck + Rice. He hopes to open two more outlets next year, initially in central London, and by 2017 to have three to five further sites in central London, plus one in Dubai. Once those are up and running, he would like to appoint a pub industry chief executive and go to a second round of fundraising, at which point he would focus on the UK - big style. “The internal market is so strong, I don’t need to go anywhere else. I would be happy for this to go to 100 units.”

It sounds ambitious, but you wouldn’t bet against the man who came up with Wagamama, and his aspirations for Babaji are no less bold.“I hope I can elevate pide into an acceptable alternative to the pizza,” Yau says. “The aspiration is to mimic the business model of Pizza Express. I don’t have a problem if we don’t achieve that in my lifetime. I would consider it a success if we become the forerunner in taking pide out of the ethnic backwater into the mainstream.”

Mono mania

Again, Dubai features in his plans. The short-term intention is to open a second site, in Dubai, after Christmas, he says. “That’s going to be a dry concept and will be bigger because that’s going to be our flagship,” he says. “Following that, in the last quarter of 2016, we’re opening a second site in Dubai.”

And again, the initial focus will be London. This time, though, the units will be supported by a central kitchen, allowing it to reduce the size of the property to 2,000 sq ft. “The ideal is to have two to six units open in 2016 and five more in 2017,” he says, adding that while the central kitchen has not yet been acquired, he is eyeing Hackney: “We haven’t found a site, but we have a location in mind.”

The last year has seen a proliferation of mono-product restaurants and Yau is fascinated by the concept, so much so that it is what he would like to have done with Babaji, and may still do. “The numbers show that the more you narrow the focus, the better your product will be,” he says. “In Japan, mono products are a given if you want to give yourself more credibility. I love mono products as a concept.”

The problem, he says, is that if a restaurateur comes up with a winning concept, they will inevitably try to upscale the operation and “lose the plot” by shifting their focus away from the integrity of the food to the property required. “You need to grow the offer in order to go to your new equilibrium. It doesn’t work.”

Not as a mass-market proposition anyway, which, as Yau points out, he has spent a lifetime pursuing. The culinary polar opposite is, of course, Blumenthal’s molecular gastronomy, but each to their own, he says. “I admire the enquiry side, but he is a chemist. What he does is more science based. I see cooking as a craft.”

Yau draws inspiration from Japan, where ingredients are everything. “They say a craft-based Japanese bartender will only offer a Bellini six weeks of the year because the white peach comes out at the end of July and finishes in the first week of September,” he says. “Then they will move on to something else. That is more to my spirit.”

The irony in aspiring to the mass market is that he sold Wagamama before it achieved that status. Yau is not bitter, but you get the sense he would like to stay a little longer at the helms of Duck + Rice and Babaji. “I prefer not to comment on Wagamama,” he says. “It’s a concept I always wanted to become mainstream and I was involved in for five years. With Babaji and Duck + Rice, I’ve found a better way to expand, which is about putting in senior management to each of the two to give them better focus.”

Yau is clearly confident Duck + Rice and Babaji have the capacity to grow significantly. They may not win him Michelin stars but, as he says,“each has the potential to attract a certain type of people” - and you would think rather a lot of them, thanks to Yau’s unique fusion of British and ethnic culinary sensibilities.

Hide

Property Week

Farfetch extends its Old Street office base

Luxury online fashion retailer Farfetch is expanding its offices at Crosstree Real Estate Partners and Helical Bar’s The Bower on Old Street roundabout.

Farfetch is taking the sixth floor, which totals 12,260 sq ft, in the 122,000 sq ft Warehouse building. It already occupies the fourth and fifth floors in the nine-storey building, and is believed to be paying less than £55/sq ft.

Farfetch, which was founded in 2008 and showcases more than 1,000 labels, originally took space in the building at the end of 2014.

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The letting leaves six floors available in The Warehouse building, while The Tower building offers 165,000 sq ft.

The entire site comprises around 350,000 sq ft of office and retail/restaurant space across four buildings: The Tower, The Warehouse, The Studio and Empire House on City Road.

DeVono acted for Farfetch. JLL and Hatton Real Estate are letting agents.

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Property Week

Probe to look at conflict of interest in property

The University of Leeds has launched a research project on the level of conflict of interest in commercial property.

The aim is to develop a white paper to evaluate whether commercial occupiers and landlords are being treated equally within the real estate cycle. Researchers will also look at whether commercial occupiers and landlords are being represented fairly by property advisers.

In 2014, nearly 20% (1.2m sq ft) of office lettings in central London, the world’s most expensive and active commercial property hotspot, was handled by agents who represented both the landlord and prospective tenant.

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The university hopes to uncover the potential for manipulation, onerous terms and multi-million pounds in overpayments or savings, and provide greater transparency across the industry.

Professor Gerard McCormack, of the School of Law at the university, is leading the project with Adam Baker, a lecturer in property law. Professor McCormack said there were a “minuscule number” of commercial property agencies operating a ‘conflict free’ service.

Adam Landau, managing director of DeVono Property which pioneered tenant-only representation, said: “As a business we have been aware of this issue far too regularly. As a result, we are delighted that it’s now being researched in the hope that occupiers will always be treated in the fairest most transparent way, which is something that is clearly lacking at this current time.”

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Property Week

Corney & Barrow wheels out rebranded bars

City of London wine bar chain hopes new identities will bring wider success.

London bar chain Corney & Barrow opened the first of its rebranded C&B branches on Mason’s Avenue in the Square Mile last week — one of three new formats launched by the company in the past year.

Corney & Barrow, a favourite with City workers for 30 years, has embarked on a rebranding exercise based around three new brands: C&B, Terrace and Cabin.

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It plans to convert its existing portfolio of 11 bars, all in City hotspots such as Monument and Paternoster Square, to its new C&B brand, and has spent six months refurbishing its Mason’s Avenue bar to create a more modern feel. The company also opened a restaurant in the City — Devonshire Terrace — last summer, and a travel concept called Cabin at Waterloo station in July this year.

All the formats serve wines from the 200-year-old Corney & Barrow wine merchants, from which the bar operator originates.

The next bar to be relaunched will be at Paternoster Square at the end of this month.

The chain will then continue to refurbish the rest of its estate, and aims to spend £300/sq ft.

Corney & Barrow spent around £750,000 on fitting out its Cabin bar at Waterloo, which is on the new mezzanine retail and dining area that opened this summer. The bar serves English “tapas” and sells Corney & Barrow wines and cheeses from mail order company Pong for customers to take away.

The chain is working with property agent DeVono to look for new locations for all three formats. It is searching for sites of 3,000-5,000 sq ft for C&B bars and Terrace restaurants, and around 1,500 sq ft for the Cabin format.

Corney & Barrow plans to open 11 Cabin bars in the next three years, and is targeting airports and railway stations, both in the UK and abroad.

Explaining the motivation behind the rebranding, managing director Lucy Knowles says: “I could sit on Corney & Barrow and continue to roll out slowly in the City, but I believe we have to change to compete in an environment that is continuously evolving. Our wine merchants have a very strong heritage and in many ways that is an incredible strength, but sometimes it can hold us back.

“Being a bit more flexible with the name lets us use the heritage, but also do something a bit different and a bit more modern.”

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Property Week

Yalla Yalla wants London sites in a hurry

Lebanese street food restaurant Yalla Yalla plans to open at least four more sites in the next 18 months across London.

Yalla Yalla, which means “hurry up” or “let’s go”, was started by Beirut-born chef Jad Youssef and his partner Aga Ilska in 2008. It operates from two restaurants, in Green’s Court, Soho, and Winsley Street in Fitzrovia.

As well as selling its Lebanese fare from a converted 30 ft shipping container pop-up cafe on London’s South Bank, the restaurant opened an A1 island kiosk on the mezzanine level of the new concourse at King’s Cross station in April, and has placed under offer a further two sites in the West End and Covent Garden.

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The locations, which are scheduled to open by the end of the year, aim to capitalise on growing brand awareness and will be designed in a takeaway-style format with a small amount of seating. They will also enable Yalla Yalla to gain a foothold in places where it may struggle to get an A3 site.

Backed by a private investor, Youssef and Ilska have retained property adviser DeVono to find them new sites. The firm is scoping out trendy locations such as Shoreditch, Charlotte Street, Wigmore Street and Duke Street, but says competition for restaurant units is fierce.

Although the A1 sites are about 700-800 sq ft on a five-year lease, Yalla Yalla wants 2,000 sq ft for its restaurant format and will take “as long as they’ll give us” with regards to the lease.

The 18,000 sq ft Winsley Street site has posted an 11% uplift in like-for-like sales for the year to July, compared with the same period last year, says operations director Barry Hilton.

“It’s busy at lunchtimes, when it is not unusual to serve 240 people in an 80-cover restaurant — people come through quickly,” he says. “Then, in the evening you get a slightly different feel, with lower lighting and people enjoying wine and cocktails.”

Yalla Yalla is keen to build a presence in central London of about eight to 10 sites before it considers expanding across the UK, says Hilton.

“We also need a central production kitchen as we do all our own butchery. That will be about 2,000 sq ft and we’re looking for a site now.”

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Property Week

Robert Leigh is nominated as a Property Week HOT 100

30 - Tom Leeming, partner, Cushman & Wakefield

Leeming, 31, was poached from Jones Lang LaSalle to head Cushman & Wakefield’s national office team in October 2011. Since then, he has made his mark by winning two high-profile instructions — Green Park near Reading and Farnborough Business Park. None of this compares, however, to the £21,000 he raised for charity last August by swimming the English Channel in 11 hours.

29 - Meriam Makiya, partner, Knight Frank

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Makiya, 30, became involved in property when, after graduating in economics from Queen Mary, University of London, she joined Foxtons and qualified as a financial mortgage broker. She moved to Knight Frank’s London residential department in 2007 and was made partner in 2011. Her best deal remains a purchase in Clapham for a rap star who was “difficult to handle and quirky in his ways, which made the deal all the more enjoyable”.

28 – Andrew Rose, vice-president, asset and development management, MGPPA

Rose says his proudest achievement is refurbishing the 482,000 sq ft Exchange Tower in London’s Docklands, 220,000 sq ft of which he has relet this year. The 31 year-old from Derbyshire ran the Marathon des Sables — six marathons in seven days in the Sahara — last year, competes in triathlons and has taken part in the Iron Man challenge. “It is nice to have a challenge outside of work,” he explains.

27 – Celine Thompson, head of leasing, Derwent London

Thompson, 34, has been in her job for six years, and worked on high-profile schemes such as the Angel Building in Islington, north London. She has always loved property and, as a girl, liked to go to the top of buildings to see her surroundings from a high vantage point. Thompson also has a passion for travelling that she hopes to instil in her 11-month-old son.

26 - Rasheed Hassan, director, Savills

Hassan went to New York last year to persuade financial news and data company

Bloomberg that it should develop its own London headquarters by buying Walbrook

Square, rather than lease an existing building. The 30-year-old joined the firm in 2004 as a graduate trainee, and in 2010 he co-ordinated the disposal of St Martins’ £750m “Project Blue” portfolio. Heron has just appointed Hassan to lease the remaining space in Heron Tower.

25 – Rupert Williams, founding partner, GM Real Estate

Williams, 34, resigned from his CBRE directorship in 2010 to set up GM Real Estate with CBRE colleague Tony McCurley and BH2’s Tony Gibbon. He says he finds the niche environment compelling, but the deals are far from niche. He was part of the team that acted for Brookfield on its purchase of six of Hammerson’s City offices for £518m last month.

24 – Woody Bruce, founder, Bruce Gillingham Pollard

Bruce was among the staff of retail agency Markham Vaughan Gillingham who moved across to Knight Frank when it bought the company in 2008. Three years later, he founded Bruce Gillingham Pollard, and now counts Hammerson and Land Securities among his clients. While at Knight Frank, he secured 9,900 sq ft at One New Change for Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen restaurant. The 33-year-old spends “every spare second” with his two-year-old daughter, Coco.

23 - Zvi Noé, director of investment, F&C Reit Asset Management

Noé, 33, joined his father Leo’s company in 2006, following stints as an investment agent at Franc Warwick and working for Apollo Real Estate Advisors. In 2009 Noé junior led the acquisition of Dawnay Day’s £600m distressed UK assets.

22 – Michael Zerda, director, special situations, LaSalle Investment Management

The 34-year-old son of Polish migrants to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, did not intend to go into property. He spent his early career working for a Texan entrepreneur, investing in IT-related start-ups. But he became more interested in his boss’s property portfolio and moved into real estate finance at firms such as Goldman Sachs. As regional director of debt investments and special situations at LaSalle, Zerda helps to raise money to target the liabilities in banks’ portfolios.

21 - Duncan Walker, director, Helical Bar

Walker, 33 (left), is the youngest director at Helical Bar and among his most notable deals is the purchase of Corby town centre from Land Securities last year for £70m. That gave the publicly listed company ownership of the 175,000 sq ft Willow Place shopping centre, anchored by Primark and TK Maxx, as well as the surrounding shopping streets. Walker joined Helical Bar in 2007 from Edinburgh House Estates.

20 - Mumtaz Arif, head of programmes and development programme manager, Royal Mail

In his four years at Royal Mail, Arif, 32, has managed £400m of development, or 2m sq ft. The extra space is necessary as Royal Mail moves towards delivering more parcels than letters. The biggest project is the £75m refurbishment of the sorting office at Mount Pleasant, near Farringdon in London. Arif joined from Cable & Wireless, where he set up payroll and customer facilities in Bangalore.

19 – Richard Walker, chairman, Bywater Properties

Walker, 31, develops foodstore-anchored schemes in Poland and the UK. His father, Malcolm, is the founder of frozen food chain Iceland and is a tenant at his son’s London schemes in Peckham, Upminster and West Norwood. Walker started his career at Jones Lang LaSalle in 2002, and was posted to Poland, where he formed Bywater in 2005. His first Polish deal was the purchase of 16 flats for €3m.

18 – Andrew Rich, fund manager, Henderson Global Investors

When he is not running marathons — Rich has run the last 10 London Marathons — the 34-year-old property fund manager is responsible for Henderson’s £450m UK Mall Outlet Fund and the £1.4bn European Outlet Mall Fund. Apart from setting up the UK fund in 2008, Rich is most proud of his role advising Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and pension fund manager APG on their purchase of a 50% stake in Westfield Stratford City.

17 – Jacob Taylor, fund manager and finance director, Pradera

An accountant by training, Taylor, 31, joined Pradera in 2006. He holds a dual role as fund manager of its £305m pan-European retail fund and as finance director. Last year, he bought a pub in Hertfordshire, which he is planning to convert into a family home for his wife and two children — as soon as he receives planning permission to restore the 16th-century building.

16 – David Raven, head of shopping centre investment, Jones Lang LaSalle

Raven, 34, took over the running of Jones Lang LaSalle’s shopping centre investment team in 2008. Since then, his transactions have totalled £2bn — or 70% — of shopping centre transactions worth more than £100m at JLL. He acted for Lloyds Banking Group in 2009 on its £300m sale of Silverburn, near Glasgow, to Hammerson. Raven also has experience of being a one-hit wonder: he was in the winning group at 2010 Party Near the Park, singing Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping.

15 – Adam Goldin, acquisitions executive, Delancey

Goldin was part of the team that secured the £557m purchase of the Athletes Village on the Olympic Park site, which Delancey bought with Qatari Diar in August 2011. Perhaps this is why the 33-year-old was named Young Property Professional of the Year at the Young Norwood event in February. Outside the property industry, Goldin is involved in even more property — he is on the Microscope Ball committee and is helping to create a Jewish free school in Finchley.

14 – Robert Leigh, founder, DeVono

The 33-year-old founded DeVono in 2007 to represent occupiers only, because he

believed that acting for landlords and tenants led to conflicts of interest. Last year, DeVono handled the moves of 97 businesses. He chose the name from the Latin de novo, meaning “afresh”, and then transposed the letters.

13 – Wilson Lamont, partner, Area Property Partners

Lamont joined Area from London & Regional Properties in 2003 and is responsible for the group’s investment strategy and sourcing acquisitions. The 34-year-old masters graduate studied land economy at the University of Cambridge, before beginning his career in the real estate team of Morgan Stanley. Last year, he was appointed to his first non-executive role at Minerva.

12 – Matthew Finn, founder, Finn & Co

Finn, 33, set up Finn & Co in November 2009, after a decade as an investment agent and equity partner at Ereira Mendoza. He has carried out more than £300m of transactions since he founded the company, including the £42m sale of the newly let 52 Grosvenor Garden in London’s Victoria for Stenham Property to Aegon Asset Management. In May, he was named Young Property Person of the Year at the Variety Club’s “PROPS” awards.

11 – Ray Bloom, chief executive, John D Wood

Bloom, 28, was a junior employee at the commercial agency in 2009, when he put together a business plan and found a financial backer to buy the company. His strategy was to franchise the John D Wood name, established in 1872, and to open overseas branches. In May this year, Bloom opened John D Wood Egypt. Any spare time is saved for his wife, Nikki, and an occasional game of golf.

10 - Bianca Ladow, founder and CEO, Earlcrown

Ladow, 29, set up Earlcrown in 2002 to develop and restore grand London homes in Mayfair and Belgravia. She project manages the homes of the wealthy, who know that Ladow will not reveal their identities nor disclose the millions of pounds they spend to live well.

The largest project on which the Cass Business School masters graduate has worked was 40 Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, a 20,000 sq ft house that accommodates a ballroom, spa and landscaped garden.

Her father, South African tycoon Vivian Imerman, was said to have given her financial backing. But Ladow will only say that her father and grandfather have stood behind her and encouraged her.

9 – Sam Sanane, portfolio manager, UBS

Originally from Leicester, Sananes was named Young Property Personality of the Year at the Property Awards in April for his role in helping UBS’s Central London Office Value Added Fund to become one of the best-performing real estate funds in 2011, producing returns of more than 14%.

He was also responsible for the biggest prelet in the UK in 2009, when Nomura signed a 20-year lease at its 550,000 sq ft Watermark Place in the City of London. Sananes later secured a 50% sale of a share in the building to Oxford Properties.

The 34-year-old enrolled on a masters course in property valuation and law at Cass Business School in 2002, after realising his previous career in sports marketing was not “all that it was cracked up to be”. He is chairman of the organising committee for the Microscope Ball, and this year ran the London Marathon (slowly), dressed as a 6ft Big Ben.

8 – Dan Gallaghe, joint managing director, Stoford

Having lived and breathed property while growing up, Gallagher, 34, made the leap to Stoford in 2003. He joined the company his uncle, Tony Gallagher, set up from Savills, where he was a director. At Stoford, he was promoted to director in 2006, and this year became joint managing director of the Midlands-based company.

The former rugby player has been responsible for some of its largest projects, among them the development of 250,000 sq ft in Wolverhampton this year, for which it secured a prelet to Moog Aersopace. Stoford is also on site with a 435,780 sq ft shed, prelet to the Co-operative Group, in Avonmouth, Bristol.

Married with two children, Gallagher also manages to get out on the field, playing rugby for Solihull RUFC.

7 - Natale Giostra, executive director, CBRE

Italian-born Giostra is, at 34, CBRE’s youngest-ever UK executive director. Formerly a banker at Goldman Sachs and Citi Bank, Giostra was recruited by CBRE in 2004 for its newly created real estate finance team.

He cut his teeth in property finance at the group’s offices in Madrid, London and New York, working with clients such as Heron International and Deutsche Bank. Since 2006, he has originated, arranged or sold more than £4.2bn of loans across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. When the credit crunch hit in 2009, he was given the task of restructuring the entire debt advisory services business. Today, he manages this department in the UK and co-ordinates the European teams.

A keen sailor — although he admits he just likes to sit back and drink champagne — he is busy planning his wedding next year.

6 – Jason Kow, chief executive officer, Queensgate Investments

Starting up on your own, with £500m of equity in the middle of a double-dip recession, is no mean feat. Kow launched Queensgate Investments, a private equity real estate fund manager, in April this year. The former head of special situations at London & Regional Properties raised the equity from wealthy families, and, with debt, has £1bn to spend on property in the UK and Europe.

Kow began his assault on property as a banker at DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, before joining the Livingstone brothers at London & Regional.

Kow says going it alone was “extremely scary”, and he has the greatest respect for Ian and Richard, having “learnt everything from them”.

The 32-year-old is “too busy” for a social life, but enjoys sports, although needs to improve his golf.

5 - Nick Cuff, chairman, planning applications committee, Wandsworth Borough Council

Cuff, 30, is a development manager at Essential Land, but is perhaps better known for his role at Wandsworth Borough Council. The Conservative politician was elected in 2006, and is one of the youngest serving elected members.

After gaining a planning degree in 2005, Cuff worked as a parliamentary aide to shadow ministers, and left in 2008 to join CBRE’s planning department.

More recently, Cuff agreed to a lower ratio of social housing required in new developments of 15%, to help fund the Northern Line extension to Battersea Power Station. Cuff also anticipates its Malaysian owners, SP Setia and Sime Darby, which this month paid £400m for the site, will submit plan changes to his committee by the end of the year.

Cuff enjoys playing cricket and golf, as well as kick boxing, in which he recently gained his black belt.

4- Anil Khera, principal, real estate team, Blackstone

Khera, 34, is the man to “dial for the money”, putting together the finance for Blackstone’s property acquisitions in the UK and Europe.

He has helped to raise the finance for the £600m of industrial properties Blackstone has bought over the past two years, and oversaw negotiations for its first financing with Goldman Sachs, when it bought Devonshire Square for £330m in April. The principal in the real estate team has, in the past, also worked on the £480m purchase of Chiswick Park, which Deutsche Bank agreed to underwrite with a £300m securitised loan.

Originally from Toronto, Khera worked at Credit Suisse’s DLJ Real Estate Partners in Los Angeles, before moving to London in 2006 to join Blackstone. Although the weather does not compare to LA, the real estate market is better in London, he says.

3 - John Maddison, head of retail warehouse asset management, British Land

Maddison, 30, is responsible for 9m sq ft of space — nearly twice as much as any other landlord. Yet, he still tries to make quarterly visits to the schemes, sometimes watching a football match if his team, Crystal Palace, is playing an away match against other Championship sides. It has been a swift rise for Maddison, since he joined CB Hillier Parker as a property administrator in 2000, straight from school. After moving to Savills, he caught the attention of Henderson Global Investors, which appointed him a portfolio manager for its retail warehouse fund, before he joined British Land in 2005.

In March, Maddison ended his two-year term as chairman of Accessible Retail — their youngest ever. Maddison’s biggest coup for the out-of-town retail society was in 2007, when he engaged an unknown Michael McIntyre to be the comedian at the Christmas lunch, and got the now highest-paid comedian in the UK on the cheap.

2 - Simon McCabe, director, Scarborough Group International

The 34-year-old McCabe is at the helm of Scarborough Group International, which has a portfolio of mixed-use assets as far north as Inverness and as far south as Exeter. Son of the group’s founder, Kevin, Simon controls the group’s UK real estate activities, while his father focuses on business in the Far East, and his brother, Scott, manages its Forsyth business centres.

McCabe admits he likes the business to be thought of as a “hands-dirty prop-co”. Last month, it announced plans for 1.2m sq ft of development at Thorpe Park in Leeds and, in February, it bought a 21 acre brownfield site in Salford, which has planning consent for 2.6m sq ft of development. McCabe also spearheaded the purchase of Modus Properties and several of its development assets for £37m, after it fell into administration in 2010.

Although following in his father’s property footsteps was inevitable, McCabe started his career as a “lower league” footballer, and the family has an investment in Sheffield United, of which McCabe Snr is chairman. He likes nothing better than to spend time with his two-year-old daughter, who is, he says, a determined character, or a “typical McCabe”.

1 - Fawn James, director, Soho Estates

She is the biggest landlord in Soho, having inherited more than 60 acres of prime
property in the West End from her grandfather, Paul Raymond.

Fawn James was just 22 when the porn publisher died in 2008, leaving his entire
personal estate of £75m to split with her now 21-year-old sister, India Rose. James
joined his property company, Soho Estates, as a director in 2008, and is leading a new era for the business under her father, John James, who is managing director of the company, and the watchful eye of chairman Steve Norris.

The 26-year-old wants to grow the company — estimated to be worth £370m —
organically, starting with the reinstatement of the Boulevard Theatre within the former Raymond Revuebar,
which she will manage. The Boulevard forms part of the redevelopment of the notorious sex shop-lined alleyway Walker’s Court — one of the first significant projects the group is undertaking. James is also helping the estate to become more sustainable.

A graduate of the University of St Andrews, James’s degree in anthropology also informs her charitable side. In 2009 she drove 2,000 km across India in a 1950s classic car in aid of UNICEF and the Rainbow
Trust.

James is aware of the responsibilities her inheritance brings and, as part of the estate’s management team, says the character and dynamic of Soho will be safe. She may not agree with her new tag of Queen of Soho, but says her grandfather gave his occupation as “impresario”, and following in his footsteps is exactly what
she wants to do.

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