Partnership Profile: Jonathan Shelton, Managing Director and Head of Real Estate for Europe at The Olayan Group

“British, luxurious and iconic.”

Extraordinary shopping, exquisite workspaces, beautiful apartments, and happening restaurants and cafes. That’s The Knightsbridge Estate’s spectacular 3.5-acre island site located between Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and now home to Burberry and Apple’s new flagship stores. It offers everything from restaurants and offices to flats, shops, and a hotel.

The Knightsbridge Estate was purchased by The Olayan Group in 2010. We spoke with The Group’s Managing Director and Head of Real Estate for Europe, Jonathan Shelton, about the Group’s role in Knightsbridge’s rich history and future.

“We’ve owned the site since 2010, and plan to own it for many years to come, creating a place where people and businesses can thrive,” he says. “It’s a place where people come to live, work, shop, eat – it’s simply a great destination.”

The Olayan Group recently completed the redevelopment of the most northern third of the site, delivering seven flagship retail stores, 67,000 square feet of grade A office space, 33 luxury rental apartments, and a destination roof-top restaurant.

In a nod to the location’s heritage and history, the Estate’s office development, One Hooper’s Court, was named after John Hooper, the famous market gardener who once occupied the site.

“There’s a walkway from Brompton Road to Basil Street with a beautiful floral etching in the wall on the underside of the ceiling,” Jonathan explains. “That etching carries into the office building façade to celebrate John Hooper’s market garden. We decided to name the office ‘One Hooper’s Court’ after him.”

In addition to honouring local history, The Olayan Group is committed to strengthening the neighbourhood’s future. It was proud to be a founding member of the BID alongside Harrods and Cadogan, originating the plans. The Partnership promotes Knightsbridge’s many assets and maintains its reputation as a desirable place for residents, visitors, and businesses alike.

“The BID can help showcase all the great amenities in addition to the luxury shopping,” says Jonathan. “It is a reminder to everyone that Knightsbridge is a lovely place to live, with plenty of investment to improve it.”

The Olayan Group has invested in Knightsbridge with the benefit of the community in mind, Jonathan stresses. “We have experience curating and creating parts of major global capitals, and we know that building consensus with neighbours and local stakeholders can bring about long-term benefits for everyone, not just landowners.

“We’ve seen the benefits of bringing people together, and we want to be a part of that. We’re a long-term owner, and this goes hand-in-hand with knowing your neighbours, in order to make a better place for everyone.”

At the same time, the BID is a valuable tool for local businesses to collaborate, he says. “The BID will help us have a collective voice. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts. As a landlord, our customers are largely retailers, and their biggest challenge is the removal of VAT-free shopping.” To that end, the Knightsbridge Partnership co-signed the recent letter from London Mayor Sadiq Khan to the Chancellor, lobbying for the return of tax-free shopping.

And when Jonathan’s not working? “I love grabbing a coffee at Carpo in Hans Crescent, then window shopping along Brompton Road, home to Apple’s newest flagship store, and ending on Sloane Street, home to Burberry’s flagship store. So British!”