Before leaving Vancouver for Europe I attended a workshop with a bright young lady who works for Grosvenor. When I mentioned I was heading off to London, she suggested I see Michael Mortenson in their London office and kindly sent him a note.Michael generously arranged to for me to have a tour of the Grosvenor offices, and after a pint in his local pub, (we were celebrating my birthday) we set of to see some of their nearby holdings. As most people know, Grosvenor owns a sizable portion of many of London’s best neighbourhoods, including Mayfair.
|This public art installation features a photographer shooting Twiggy. Remember Twiggy?|
|New paving in Mayfair|
According to Wikipedia, Grosvenor’s history began with the marriage of Mary Davies and Sir Thomas Grosvenor in 1677. Mary had inherited the manor of Ebury, 500 acres of land north of the Thames to the west of the City of London, which remained largely untouched by the Grosvenors until the 1720s, when they developed the northern part - now known as Mayfair – around Grosvenor Square. A few generations later, in the 1820s, their focus moved south - to what is now Belgravia - developing Eaton Square, Chester Square and other famous addresses. Later in the 19th century, the area of Pimlico was developed; this was sold in 1953.
|Nearly all of the worlds finest retailers can be found in the area|
Today the company is involved in a wide variety of activities, developing commercial and residential properties on its own, or in partnership with others. It is active not only in London and Vancouver, but around the world. I've always been impressed with the caliber of people and the projects with which it has become involved.
Although it has made mistakes....the design and planning process for their current West Vancouver project is one example, the company acts with integrity appropriate to its history and pedigree.
Those who know Michael Mortensen know that he is a good fit with the company. After working with CMHC and the City of Vancouver, he left the public sector for a private developer before joining Grosvenor in Vancouver. While he appears to be having a wonderful experience in London, riding his bike in from Richmond each day, I expect to see him back in Vancouver in a few years. I’ll be interested to see what ideas he brings back from the UK.
|As Michael observed, not everything in Mayfair is in good taste|