London’s Mayfair District Lures New York Galleries

Rents in upmarket London district Mayfair are set to soar as galleries and auction houses line up to open in the neighborhood amid rising demand for art, the London Luxury Quarter business group said in a report today.

Rental rates on shopping avenue Bond Street have increased 40 percent in the last 18 months, the group said. That’s more than any other London area, according to real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. The introduction of London train route Crossrail will increase the number of passengers alighting on the street by 30 percent in 2018 and propel rates further, the report said, citing property agents Knight Frank LLP.

New York-based art dealer Larry Gagosian is set to open his third London gallery at Mayfair’s 20 Grosvenor Hill while commercial property owner The Pollen Estate is planning five new art spaces on Cork Street, the group said. There is “intense demand” for space from other U.S. galleries, according to Katie Blake, a spokeswoman for the London Luxury Quarter at Rain Communications.

Auction house Christie’s International Plc first-half sales advanced by 9 percent to a recording-breaking 2.4 billion pounds ($3.7 billion), driven by newly wealthy Chinese buyers, according to the report. Competitor Sotheby’s will open a new space for private sales on St. George Street in November.

Big Sales

“The London Luxury Quarter is the most important market for jewelery and art in Europe,” Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said in the report. “At Sotheby’s on Bond Street I joke that I worry about our carpet. Massive amounts of people come through during the big sales.”

Smaller auction house Phillips, owned by Russian private company Mercury Group, is to move its London headquarters to Berkeley Square later this year, Blake said.

London Luxury Quarter represents more than 1,000 businesses including 90 jewelers, such as Cartier and Tiffany, and 89 art galleries. The district covers 42 streets in Mayfair, St. James and Piccadilly.

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