What's Howard de Walden's Secret? 4 Things Every Local Government Must Know for a Vibrant City Centre

Imagine you own 2,000 shops, offices and houses.

You would run a small city.

How would you ensure the survival - the sustainability - of the city and its people?

The Howard de Walden Estate owns over 92 acres of prime London land and have over 2,200 leases to manage which give an annual turnover of over £70m.

Included in the estate is the famous Harley Street plus the recently regenerated Marylebone High Street.

Would you like to know their secret to keeping the whole thing afloat?

(Video 1m 29s)

The HdWE video establishes that economic and community success is attributable to picking and choosing the right retailers.

They have also concluded that a sense of place is due to independent retailers in the street - not major brands (which they call 'multiples' in the video).

On the HdWE website they say - after independent retailers were in place:

‘… we no longer needed to promote the street, but its unique tenant mix did this itself.’

Astonishing!

This means that expensive and desperate pleas for customers through radio and TV can be forgotten.

Local governments must step up and act in this capacity the best they can:

1.  Appoint talent whose role it is to coordinate communities of retailers

2.  Maintain a proper customer relationship database with all stakeholders, including potential retailers.

3.  Set a professional standard for shop front design and signage - click here for a bit more on that.

4.  The local government should consider the value of keeping or growing its portfolio of properties.  Those which it owns it can lease appropriately - and control rents if it wants to.

(Want the longer version of Howard de Walden Estate's video?)