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With rents being driven up by demand from high-end fashion brands, are Mayfair landlords now only interested in letting shops to only high-end fashion brands?

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Tony Pontone, founder of Albemarle Gallery and now Pontone Gallery in Chelsea, left Albemarle Street in Mayfair in 2017.

“I left Mayfair because I couldn’t negotiate a deal which would enable me to stay in the same location. The rent was going to be five times higher than the rent I was previously paying there.

In Mayfair landlords appear to be after the highest rent they can get and it is becoming a place just for high-end fashion retailers. This can change the character of an area. It is not just the livelihoods of the gallery owners to consider but all the artists that work with the gallery – this can be the livelihoods of hundreds of people.

The best streets have a variety of tenants. The landlord in Chelsea for my new gallery, the Cadogan Estates, is actively seeking to keep a mix of retailers, not just fashion. It has a dedicated department working with tenants on how we can promote ourselves and the area. That is excellent.

Of course, not all landlords in Mayfair are the same, but there is a tendency to focus on profit and not the overall feel of a street.”

The rent was going to be five times higher than the rent I was previously paying there



Julian Stocks, chief executive at landlord Pollen Estate. Pollen owns 43 freehold properties in Savile Row, Cork Street, Bond Street and surrounding areas in Mayfair.

“Our view is we need a mix of occupiers in Mayfair. Variety is really important to sustain Mayfair and from our perspective we have two amazing streets that have real authenticity and exceptional history: Savile Row, the home of bespoke tailoring, and Cork Street, which for almost 100 years has been the heart and soul of modern and contemporary art.

Our ambition and stated strategy as a custodian owner of property in this corner of east Mayfair is to do everything we can to embrace and enhance these tremendous streets and work with our occupiers to help their businesses thrive.

If we do this successfully then all stakeholders will benefit over time. We are in the final stages of delivering over 41,000 sq ft of newly developed galleries on Cork Street. We are very focused on attracting the right mix of galleries (no high fashion allowed!).

Cork Street is perhaps the most famous street in art history. Since the Mayor Gallery opened its doors there in 1925, the street has remained at the forefront of cutting edge art movements. The redevelopment of the area and the galleries underlines The Pollen Estate’s dedication to ensuring that the street endures as the go-to street for art.”