Until a decade or so ago, fashionable London was carved between the four big estates: The Grosvenor, The Cadogan, The Howard de Walden and The Portman, owned by some of the oldest titled families in the British realm.
As the landscape of the city changed and the East became the new South West, other players entered the mix. A Malaysian consortium now owns a chunk of Thames-side Battersea; the Canary Wharf Group owns the eponymous area, but the trendiest village in town is owned by two native London families.
The Hall and White families are sitting on a hugely valuable asset thanks to the perspicacity of the original two business partners, successful shop fitters in the 70s, who bought a then derelict lumberyard site as a hedge against inflation.
The site went through its share of vagaries and a near reversal of fortune when the new train line plan threatened to put paid to any development projects.
Still, they held on to it, mothballing it for a time, but not selling. Foresight and patience are key when it comes to property investment and theirs paid off spectacularly well with the development of the city. Some plain good old-fashioned luck didn’t hurt either.
Fastforward to the noughties.
By 2005 the families had added to the original investment and expanded their holding in the area.
Dominic White, son of one of the original partners and a shrewd property investor/developer himself, has since made a number of jaw-dropping deals that maximise the value of the asset but keep the freehold in the hands of the Halls and the Whites.
Today, the freehold is owned by Shoreditch Village, a private company of which White is managing director.
Protective of the unique identity of the area, the estate has leased land to developers who are a good match in terms of enhancing its already considerable creative credibility and vision.
Citizen M Hotel, one of the coolest hospitality brands, was quick to see the potential and has recently opened its doors there.
Right next to the hotel, Brockton Capital, a private property fund also invested in Shoreditch, is developing a 70,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme with warehouse-style offices, shops and a street market.
Dominic White’s hopes for the village are that it grows from strength to strength, all the while retaining its arty edge and youthful buzz.
There is no doubt that White will steer Shoreditch Village in the right direction. He is a seasoned property investor/developer of considerable experience, mixed with a dose of unerring instinct, who operates on an international scale.
As for the proverbial million dollar question that everyone is asking: ‘where is the “next” Shoreditch?’, Dominic White is not offering any tips, save to point out that London is continuously expanding, so time to strike farther afield.