The Portman Estate is synonymous with Marylebone. Its Georgian residential architecture nestles within the West End’s commercial centres of Baker Street, Oxford Street and the Edgware Road. Executive Director of the Estate, Simon Loomes, shared the history and the 21st century vision for this important part of central London. Barry Coidan reports.
Simon took us on a high speed tour of The Portman Estate telling us about the Estate’s origins, its strategy and development programme as well as the exciting Business Improvement Districts and Public Realm initiative.
The Portman Estate is made up of two farms across Buckinghamshire and Herefordshire and the London Estate: 110 acres of prime property in Central London located between Oxford Street and the Edgware Road and extending north towards the Marylebone Road and east to Manchester Square. The Estate is made up of a mix of residential, retail and office properties – in total some 650 properties and 2,200 direct tenancies with a balance between short and long term investments ranging from 1 year to 125 year leases.
65 staff work in the Estate’s management unit maintaining a high quality, high value letting portfolio aimed at delivering a vibrant community with a judicious mix of offices, shops and residential premises.
The Portman Estate is one of a number in London which include the Grosvenor Estate (Mayfair and Belgravia): the Cadogan Estate (centred on Sloane Street and the King’s Road):
the Howard de Walden Estate ( Marylebone) and the Crown Estate (Regent Street and much of St James’s).
The Portman family were originally from the west country, farming some 10,000 acres in Somerset. The London estate’s origins lie in 270 acres of farmland two miles outside the City of London leased by Sir William Portman in 1532, who acquired the freehold 20 years later. Up until the 1760s the land remained in agricultural use – thereafter it was built upon and by the 1880s fully developed.
The size of the present day Estate is less than half of that originally purchased in the mid 16th century. The family deaths in the first half of the 20th century and the resulting taxation hit the Portman family hard. As well as selling all their land in the west country; after the death of the 7th Viscount in 1948 the remaining northern parts of the Estate were sold in 1951 and 1952.