Tillman aims to turn Jaeger HQ into a boutique hotel

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The Independent Online

Rag trade veteran Harold Tillman is plotting a move into boutique hotels - and is eyeing up the Soho head office of his Jaeger fashion brand as his first site.

Rag trade veteran Harold Tillman is plotting a move into boutique hotels - and is eyeing up the Soho head office of his Jaeger fashion brand as his first site.

The Jaeger owner and chairman, who also owns the Notting Hill Brasserie, wants to develop boutique hotels with his son Mitchell, 29, who runs a chain of American-style delis.

It will not be done under the Jaeger label but Mr Tillman believes the brand's head office, on Broadwick Street in London's Soho, is particularly suitable for transformation into a hotel.

"It is something I have always wanted to do and I even have thoughts for this place," he said. "The area's great and it's the right size. Whether we would get planning permission, I don't know, but this is a great location. It has even got underground parking."

Mr Tillman said that any move to convert the office was at the planning stage, and that should it go ahead, he would look for a new head office in the same area. But he added that he was committed to moving into the boutique hotel business. "If it's not this building, it will be another."

Mr Tillman bought the 120-year-old Jaeger in March 2003 from businessman Richard Thomson for an undisclosed sum. He set about returning the business to the black and in May installed former Debenhams boss Belinda Earl as chief executive with a brief to transform the label into an international, affordable, luxury brand.

Ms Earl's appointment means Mr Tillman is taking a back seat. "You cannot have two captains," he said. "Will we talk on a daily basis? Yes. Will I be involved in the management of the business on a daily basis? No."

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