The Crown Estate has this week begun a public consultation regarding a proposal for the redevelopment of Duke’s Court, a commercial block on the corner of Duke Street and Jermyn Street, in London’s St James’s.
Designed by leading architects John McAslan + Partners, the proposal will deliver 36,000 sq ft of modern office accommodation from the first to the sixth floor, together with flagship retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and basement levels. In addition six new apartments are planned at 33 Bury Street, returning the upper floors to their original residential use.
St James’s Portfolio Manager at The Crown Estate, Anthea Harries, says that the Duke’s Court proposals represent the next step in the implementation of the Estate’s wider strategic vision for St James’s.
She continues: “The plans propose the creation of new, high quality retail and office space, set within modern architecture designed to seamlessly blend with the historic surroundings of Jermyn Street, where our investment is sensitively enhancing the area in-line with its unique character and heritage.”
The proposals form part of the Crown Estate’s £500m investment strategy for St James’s, where their portfolio accounts for around 50 per cent of the property in the area.
Since the Crown Estate’s St James’s vision was established, the business has completed a number of major redevelopments and refurbishments in the area. These include the £100m St James’s Gateway scheme, a joint venture with the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, which was completed in 2013 and is now fully let to a range of leading fashion and lifestyle retailers and financial services businesses.
The Crown Estate, along with joint venture partner Oxford Properties, is currently engaged on its most ambitious scheme in the area to date – the £320m redevelopment of St James’s Market which will provide 260,000 sq ft of flagship retail, office and restaurant accommodation when it is completed in 2016.
In a separate statement, The Crown Estate has announced that Moleskine is to join the retail line-up on Regent Street, after taking a five year lease on a store on the northern section of the street between Oxford Circus and Regent’s Park.
Moleskine will open its new outlet on the ground floor of 283 Regent Street later in the summer. The store will stock the full range of Moleskine products including journals, diaries, bags, writing and reading accessories and, of course, the iconic notebook, which emulates those used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries.
The Crown Estate is currently delivering a 20 year, £1bn investment programme for Regent Street, involving the redevelopment and refurbishment of a number of blocks to create a flagship retail and leisure destination incorporating modern office and residential accommodation.
Bob Dawson, Head of Asset Management for The Crown Estate’s Regent Street Portfolio, said: “Moleskine will make a fantastic addition to the retail offer on this part of Regent Street where we’re working to deliver a distinct proposition to reflect the unique character of the area.
“The incorporation of Moleskine is another example of how we’re creating a high quality, lifestyle retail and leisure offer in this part of the West End.”
Moleskine’s Regent Street opening follows those of other directly operated stores in Singapore, Frankfurt and Washington DC, as the company pursues its strategy of targeting growing urban trading hubs. It now has a global network of 42 directly operated outlets.
CEO Arrigio Berni said: “Regent Street is a world renowned destination and a thriving part of the West End. Our direct retail expansion strategy targets metropolitan hubs so this is a perfect location for us to expand our presence in London and it complements our existing locations in Canary Wharf and Covent Garden as well.”
Moleskine is the latest in a growing list of brands adding to the retail and leisure mix on Regent Street North. Previous additions to the occupier line-up include award winning cycling studio Psycle, Teds Grooming Room, Dry By and Cycle Republic.