Partnership Profile: Jo Upton, CEO at Pegasi

Pegasi has established an enviable reputation for providing luxury properties in desirable central London locations, including Knightsbridge. We spoke with Jo Upton, CEO, Pegasi Management Company Ltd.

For Jo Upton, who has been with Pegasi since 2016, Knightsbridge is easy to describe : “Luxury to me has always been about the quiet, beautiful and private spaces in between the excitement and buzz. That moment of ‘hush’, or, ‘aaaah’, as you leave the bustle, greeted with kindness, warmth and a discreet efficiency. Peace, but with an indulgent layer on top.

“Joyous, enduring, and elegant. That’s how I would describe Knightsbridge.”

Pegasi’s portfolio is managed by a ‘small yet dedicated team’, maintaining a variety of propertytypes, . including arable farmland and urban commercial and residential properties: “We have 260 rental apartments, 40 shops and two office buildings, predominantly in prime central London locations, alongside a 3000-acre arable farm and estate in the village of Quendon, (near Cambridge).”

The estate at Quendon also includes the beautiful Quendon Hall, a fabulous wedding venue, overlooking its own deer park, alongside Pegasi’s Knightsbridge properties with nearby Hyde Park.

“Each building has its own character, and at various times, have been home to everyone from international students, residents working in the arts, celebrities, royalty, politicians, diplomats and, of course, the business community.”

The story goes that ‘Yesterday’, by The Beatles was written at Stafford Court  in an apartment that was home to a very famous 60s model… “How true that is, I don’t know, but the model was definitely there!”

Pegasi’s London portfolio of apartment buildings is unusual in consisting of unbroken blocks. Residents are long-standing, covering five generations, with many residents staying for years:

“The international nature of London is reflected in our residents and our teams, and they are all looking for the same thing: thoughtful service from teams that they know and trust, in beautiful homes that offer security; a peaceful retreat located in some of the finest locations in London.

“Rail links with Heathrow and Gatwick make it easier for people to get to Knightsbridge, and when they do, there is absolutely every reason to stay. The elegance and history of the area coupled with quality and innovation, makes Knightsbridge unique. Our portfolio has demonstrated extraordinary resilience, through the last 40 years, and that is testament to a continued desire for people from all over the world to continue to travel to Knightsbridge.”

The team at Pegasi recognise the fundamental importance of sustainability in all aspects of property management to mitigate their impact on the planet. Across their portfolio, Jo tells us they are implementing a suite of measures to enhance energy efficiency, reduce waste and promote a climate-first thought process. This includes an independent carbon audit of the portfolio to measure and model progress with tangible objectives.

“We have to ensure we reduce our carbon footprint, it’s a priority for us. Our buildings are older, and they’re very beautiful, but they’re also complex to sensitively modernise in a way that walks the path towards net zero.

“We also have a huge challenge addressing our carbon footprint at the farm, which may surprise people. Crops emit so much carbon, combined with lots of large machinery, so it’s a real focus for us. We already have a modest solar capability and we are very active in the countryside stewardship scheme. Last month alone we planted 5000 hedges, but still, it’s not easy.”

Back in Knightsbridge, the road to net zero is just as complex: “Every aspect of each apartment refurbishment is considered carefully and it’s an area we are making improvment  all of the time. The teams at Grosvenor and Cadogan have been very generous in sharing their extensive knowledge and expertise in sustainability. We’re a small but dedicated team, so where others are willing to share learning, we embrace it.”

Alongside her role at Pegasi, Jo is also one of the nineteen board members that make up the Knightsbridge Partnership.

“The highest priority for the BID, from our perspective, is to tackle the tension between the need for ease of movement (traffic), and the very real problem of pollution. Health and wellbeing are central in today’s world and clean air is vital. We believe easing and reducing congestion, whilst improving pedestrian and cycle access will create spaces that encourage people to linger.

“Understandably, most of the members of the BID in Knightsbridge represent retail, hospitality and associated businesses. Pegasi is unusual in continuing to have what would today be called ‘build to rent’ assets, but that is our core business. We are committed to providing homes in prime central London and making it somewhere to live, not just visit.

“Understanding the local community as we do, our residents shop and eat locally, but they also want the peace and security we associate with our homes. Giving a voice to that on the board at Knightsbridge Partnership is important. Our residents make a substantial contribution to the local economy.”

And Jo’s favourite parts of Knightsbridge?

“My year-round passion is the horses, so I love being neighbours with the Household Cavalry. They are such a part of the fabric of daily life here. Early spring time mornings are my favourite, when the horses are being exercised and the blossom trees are in bloom.

“Then at Christmas, there is no shop window in the world more magical than Harrods, and the whole area feels like the most glamorous and enchanting grotto. If you have not had the truffle macaroni cheese, it’s a must! I have a particular soft spot for Sale et Pepe, Pavilion Road. The food is classically and wonderfully Italian, as is the team. I also love the roof terrace at Harvey Nichols, right next door to my office, and perhaps my favourite place to slip away to for an hour, when I can!”

Visit the Pegasi Management Ltd website: