Mark de Rivaz, steward of The Bedford Estates, told Fitzrovia News “We wanted to turn around what was a tired street to look at. The previous leaseholder of 80 years, the Hill Tenants Association (named after Percy Hill), had not done much to maintain the buildings. Yet they were only paying £100 a year for each building in the parade.”
The 80-year lease on the shop and residential units expired at the end of 2009. “We took back control of all the buildings and renegotiated rents with the occupiers. The tenants were faced with paying market rents. As a result many of them left. Many of the previous businesses really couldn’t be sustained commercially.”
A previous shop tenant who left the street told Fitzrovia News that The Bedford Estates was a “greedy landlord” and doubted that the currently empty shops along the street would be let very soon.
Mr de Rivaz, however, said the Bedford Estates were confident that the empty shop units would soon be let: “The main parade of shops along Store Street will have new occupiers as well as some returning occupiers. We are currently still negotiating with possible tenants but there will likely be a new bookshop, art gallery, Sicilian delicatessen, flower shop, and restaurant. And of course, already opened is the Store Street Espresso. We want a mix of uses along the street.”
Two pop-up shops opened for the Christmas and the spring period.