This tour was kindly led by Simon Baynham (Property Director, Howard de Walden Estate) and Andrew Wilson (Planning and Projects Director, Howard de Walden Estate).
15 delegates started off the tour at the Conrad Shop on Maryleybone Lane. Here they were greeted by Simon Baynham the Property Director for the Howard de Walden Estate and his colleagues, who subdivided the group into two and took delegates on a tour of Marylebone High Street.
At the start the delegates were given an overview of the history of Marylebone High Street. Baynham explained that the high street had been in decline and at this time the Howard de Walden Estates only controlled a third of the shops along the High Street. The management wanted to bring in anchor store to attract footfall along the High Street such as Conran which opened in 1998.
Baynham told us that once these anchor stores had been secured, they worked on increasing their control within the estate as they only owned 40% of the 85 shops and restaurants. Eventually they gained greater control and were in a position to put into action their vision for Marylebone High Street.
Delegates were told how the Howard de Walden Estate researched retailers which fitted with their vision for the High Street including convincing a young Cath Kidston to take up shop. Delegates learned how the High Street had been managed in such a way that shops were moved to another part of the estate rather than removed. The estate moved what they considered inappropriate High Street tenants to roads off the High Street or parallel roads such as a ribbon and button shop.
In addition delegates were told about the estates rationalisation of existing offices and residential accommodation. On the upper levels of some of the shops were badly arranged maisonettes , these have been modernised to go across the length of the building rather than up, making spaces that is arguably better for modern living, a bit like NYC apartments.
Delegates ended the tour by Wigmore Street where many carried on to the Wine Tasting River Cruise.