Almacantar on re-inventing 'the gateway' to West London's office and shopping district
Above: aerial view of One and Two Marble Arch Place, looking south west across Hyde Park, London (Almacantar)
Future Cities Forum is delighted that developer Almacantar will be speaking at our 'new districts' forum this coming week. Development Director Matt Abbott joined Almacantar in 2019 with over 20 years of property experience spanning acquisition, investment, development and asset management across office, hotel, retail, residential and PBSA (purpose built student accommodation) projects. He will be discussing principles for sustainable mixed-used development with Somerset House Trust Director, Jonathan Reekie, as well as contributors from TfL, The Corporation of London, Sheppard Robson, MICA Architects and LDA Design.
Matt's prior roles include working for private equity funds, corporates and privately-held developers in the UK, Hong Kong and China. At Almacantar, Matt has managed the development of the office, retail and leisure components of Marble Arch Place and oversees the appraisal of new development opportunities. He is a graduate in Chemistry from the University of Leeds and speaks Mandarin.
Almacantar has described the now-demolished Marble Arch Tower as one of few buildings in the West End as unworthy of their location. It talks of it as the 'anonymous and increasingly dilapidated 1960s office block that loomed unloved over the meeting point of Oxford Street, Mayfair and Hyde Park.'
The developer acquired the building in 2012, replacing it with 'Marble Arch Place', designed by renowned architect Rafael Vinoly to offer a blend of residential, office, retail and leisure space in London. It spans two buildings, extending eighteen storeys above ground and an extraordinary five below. At the top of the building is The Bryanston - a collection of apartments with panoramic apartments with panoramic view over Hyde Park. Office space - 83,000 square feet - curls round into Oxford Street and is arranged over seven floors with three outdoor terraces and again views over Hyde Park.
Almacantar is keen to stress that Marble Arch has acted as an entry point to the heart of London since Roman times, but admits in recent decades it had lost this sense of presence. It states that it was its vision was to transform it into a place that not only re-establishes the majesty of its location but opens up an attractive gateway to the bustling community of The Portman Estate.