Foxtons Founder Jon Hunt Wants To Become A Hotelier

Foxtons founder Jon Hunt has revealed his latest project – a major investment into London’s hotel market.

His development business Ocubis wants to erect a 145-bedroom upmarket building in trendy Shoreditch.

It’s a positive sign for London’s hotel market, as Hunt is famed for calling property cycles correctly. He sold Foxtons at the top of the market for £375 million just before the credit crunch struck.

According to the Evening Standard, proposals lodged with Hackney council show the Paul Street development, designed by architects at Jestico + Whiles, will feature a ground floor café or restaurant.

It is understood Hunt’s son Harry will lead the project.

Ocubis’ plans come five years after it first looked at building a budget hotel on the land, before choosing to concentrate on creating offices elsewhere in London because of high demand.

Although some hotel operators have warned of tourists being deterred from the capital after terror attacks, accountancy giant PwC has forecast London occupancy and revenue per room growth of 0.2% and 2.4% respectively this year.

A spokesman for Ocubis said: “The hotel will breathe new life into a site vacant since the 70s and, in doing so, add to the vibrancy of south Shoreditch.”

Once it is up and running, the hotel will create 72 jobs.

The website for the hotel development says its façade is a contemporary interpretation of the Shoreditch warehouse elevation. The dominant material is warm ochre reconstituted stone, which is matched to the earthy pigmented tones of the ubiquitous London Stock brick.

Embossed into the surface of the façade is an abstract motif, evoking the fine grain of crown cut timber that was worked in the location for centuries.

The bay windows will be in frames of oxidised bronze colour and at upper levels the façade uses a more reflective, less industrial material.

The ground floor of the proposed scheme, with its hotel lobby and publicly accessible restaurant/café, is designed to re-activate an unloved stretch of Paul Street.

Entrepreneur and billionaire Jon Hunt is more recently known as the founder of Pavilion, the restaurant and business members club chain. He has also developed Wilderness Reserve, an area of restored natural lakes, parkland and woods situated in Suffolk’s Yox Valley.

At Foxtons, Hunt grew the estate agency to 20 branches, with over 1,600 employees in the UK and US, a £110 million in turnover and £34 million in profits.

Since selling Foxtons, Hunt has made significant investments into commercial and residential property in central London via Ocubis. In December 2011 Ocubis received planning consent for a 120,000 square foot mixed use redevelopment of its building at 150 Holborn, and it also refurbished the 120,000 sq ft Fulham Green Campus next to Putney Bridge tube station in 2012.

In 2010, Jon Hunt formed Bacchus Partners, which invests in sites suitable for residential or retail development in the South East of England, focusing on sites between £200,000 and £1 million in value.

DealMakerz thinks Hunt’s move into hotels is a logical step and a positive sign for the future of the capital’s hotel industry.

Shoreditch, in particular, has seen a surge in hotel developments in recent years. It will soon be home to a hotel targeting millennials, from the luxury Dubai-based Jumeirah Group.

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