Lease advisory & valuation
Asset management

Nurturing London’s Art Scene: Insights from a Mayfair Property Expert

March 1, 2024

In the heart of London’s prestigious Mayfair district lies a vibrant and ever-evolving art scene, where historic galleries and modern spaces converge to create a rich tapestry of culture and commerce. As a seasoned property expert deeply entrenched in the fabric of Mayfair, Simon Stone has the privilege of witnessing the intricate dance between landlords, tenants, and the city’s artistic heritage. Join Simon on a journey through the streets of Mayfair as we explore the symbiotic relationship between property management and the arts.

The Intersection of Wealth and Art:

In times of financial uncertainty, the affluent often seek to diversify their investments, turning to tangible assets such as diamonds, jewellery, and artwork. Unlike real estate, which can take months to sell, these movable valuables offer immediate liquidity and portability. In Mayfair, renowned for its luxury market, the demand for prestigious artworks remains resilient even in the face of economic challenges.

Mayfair: The Epicentre of London’s Art World:

In Mayfair, certain streets carry particular importance for art enthusiasts and collectors. One such street is Cork Street, renowned as a vibrant centre of creativity and trade, attracting individuals from across the globe. The Pollen Estate is leading a significant initiative to revive Cork Street’s reputation for innovation, establishing it as the premier destination for art globally. 

In the past three years, 60% of the street’s frontage has been revamped, adding approximately 43,000 sq ft of purpose-built gallery space—a doubling in size. These developments anchor Mayfair’s vibrant gallery scene, enhancing London’s cultural essence. Streetscape enhancements elevate Cork Street to a world-class environment, allowing galleries to host events at the heart of Mayfair.

Given its status as the epicentre of the art world and its proximity to prestigious auction houses like Sotheby’s and Bonhams, being situated nearby is crucial due to their influential presence. Designated by Westminster City Council as a focal point for the art community, Cork Street and its surroundings serve as a central hub of the art world.

Navigating the Art Property Market:

As property agents progressing into the art world, we play a pivotal role in connecting landlords with tenants seeking gallery spaces. Through our extensive network and insider knowledge, we facilitate seamless transactions that benefit both parties. One of the most notable cases involved the Waddington Custot Gallery, which sought a lease renewal with Great Portland Estates. I had the honour of representing them in negotiating a complex agreement for a large double unit. This negotiation went beyond financial aspects; it involved discussions about significant improvements and refurbishments. Drawing on my experience, I provided guidance not only on rent negotiations but also on lease modifications and their long-term implications. Concurrently, I am also assisting the Alon Zakaim Fine Art Gallery with their property matters. Our goal is to preserve Mayfair’s artistic legacy while fostering its continued growth. 

Connections and Market Knowledge:

Thanks to my extensive network of landlords and their advisors, I have insights into available spaces and potential tenant movements within the art community. This network helps streamline the leasing process, ensuring that serious parties are prioritised over time wasters. Additionally, these connections allow me to stay informed about rental levels, supply, and demand, enabling me to provide well-rounded advice to both landlords and tenants.

I prioritise building strong relationships based on trust and transparency. This has enabled me to provide guidance to all my clients. My credibility within the industry, cultivated over decades, ensures that my advice is taken seriously and leads to effective outcomes.

Preserving Heritage Amidst Innovation:

Mindful of Mayfair’s architectural and cultural legacy, I’ve participated on the East Mayfair Development Board to enhance the area’s streetscape. Our efforts, including mosaic pavements and pedestrian-friendly zones, aim to create a cleaner, more attractive environment. 

Through negotiations, I’ve secured contributions from landlords for these projects, fostering a partnership between private and public sectors. Despite temporary inconveniences, these initiatives reflect our commitment to preserving London’s heritage.

Duty of Care:

Advocating for innovation and enhancing London’s environment, I support carbon-neutral building requirements but also reflect on our role as custodians of heritage. 

Renewing leases for long-standing businesses like Cartier on New Bond Street since 1904 and celebrating this year the centenary of The Mayor Gallery emphasise our dedication to heritage conservation. Sensitivity to architecture and heritage ensures harmony with the street’s character in modern developments whilst maintaining historical integrity. However, there are a number of instances where buildings are beyond their economic and structural life and do not comply with modern building regulations including MEES and EPC. These buildings require a comprehensive redevelopment to be relevant in the modern world.


As stewards of Mayfair’s artistic and architectural heritage, we embrace our role in shaping its future while honouring its past. Through our dedication to excellence, integrity, and innovation, we stand committed to nurturing London’s art scene and preserving the timeless allure of Mayfair. Join us in celebrating the vibrant tapestry of culture, commerce, and creativity that defines this iconic district. Together, let us continue to nurture London’s artistic soul for generations to come.