Burford in pounds 100m hotels venture

Burford confirmed itself as one of the property sector's most innovative and entrepreneurial businesses yesterday, forging a pounds 100m link with one of America's most successful hoteliers to recreate New York's Royalton and Paramount hotels in London and around Europe.

The deal looks certain to be the prelude to another Burford demerger to follow the recent spin-offs of three businesses including the Trocadero leisure complex in London's Piccadilly Circus.

Burford has been in negotiations since before Christmas with Ian Schrager about recreating his successful "lifestyle" hotels for wealthy baby-boomers in Europe. He made his name in the 1970s with Studio 54, the New York nightclub whose regulars included Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol before opening a string of chic hotels across America. Mr Schrager continues to rub shoulders with the rich and fashionable and boasts Madonna as a partner in his Miami hotel, the Delano. He will be managing director of the joint venture and will be responsible for the development and operation of the hotels.

Nick Leslau, Burford's chief executive, said yesterday: "There is little doubt that Ian has created a business which is the envy of the hotel world. We are extremely excited about the prospect of working with him to create an exciting range of highly individual hotels in London and Europe."

Burford, the UK's ninth-largest property company, has bought three office buildings in London with a view to getting permission to change their use to hotels and acquired an option on a fourth near London's Covent Garden last year.

The move into hotels is the latest diversification for Burford, which has used a blue-chip property portfolio bought from the wreckage of the early 1990s recession as a springboard for a raft of related leisure businesses.

It has teamed up with Sega of Japan to exploit the heavy flow of tourist traffic through its Trocadero centre and even acquired the rights to favourite children's character Noddy.

Hotels are enjoying a prolonged boom, especially in the capital, where rising demand has combined with an almost total absence of new hotel building since the recession to provide perfect conditions for the industry.

The proposed deal also highlights Burford's technique of spinning off its leisure businesses to benefit from the higher ratings attached to these operations than its core property activities while retaining a stake in the companies' fortunes.

Burford also demerged Grantchester, its retail warehouse operation, and Columbus, a publishing business. There are plans afoot to subdivide the Trocadero even further by hiving off the licensing business surrounding the Enid Blyton portfolio.

It has been a successful formula, with Mr Leslau and his partner, Nigel Wray, emerging as the property sector's favourite entrepreneurs. Burford's shares have risen almost tenfold in the past four years.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

.NET Software Developer (.NET, C#, ASP.NET, front-end)

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried