RM Sotheby’s secures prestigious Richmond riverside premises

July 7, 2020

The world’s largest classic car auction house, RM Sotheby’s has relocated its European headquarters from New Bond Street London to Heron House on the banks of the river Thames in a deal brokered by Vail Williams. 

The Grade II listed building at Heron Square, which is located within the exclusive Richmond Riverside estate, has been fully let by the prestigious auction house. 

In a deal brokered between property consultants, Vail Williams LLP and commercial property investment manager, Orchard Street Investment Management (‘Orchard Street’), the prestigious auction house has agreed a ten-year lease on the entirety of the three-storey townhouse, comprising 3,133 sq ft of grade A office space. 

The recently refurbished Grade II listed property at Heron Square has been owned by Orchard Street since 2014 on behalf of St James’ Place plc. 

Originally built in 1716, Heron House was redeveloped in the 1980s and has recently undergone extensive internal refurbishment to modernise the building’s interior, while preserving the grandeur of its classic external façade.

The self-contained building comprises a private garden overlooking the River Thames, and is conveniently located at the edge of Richmond’s upmarket town centre and its abundance of retail and leisure offerings. The property also benefits from strong transport links, with Richmond Railway Station located within walking distance and providing direct trains to London Waterloo within 20 minutes.

Greg Anderson, Chief Operating Officer, Europe at RM Sotheby’s, said: “Heron House is a beautiful building with a grandeur and style that will complement the classic motor vehicles we plan to bring to auction and display in advance here. We look forward to making the most of our stunning new backdrop on the banks of the River Thames, as we continue to auction some of the world’s best investment-quality automobiles online amid the current pandemic.” 

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Gangloff, sold for €770,000 at RM Sotheby’s recent highly successful Online Only: The European Sale Credit – Remi Dargegen ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Specialising in the auction and private sale of key marques including Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Aston Martin, RM Sotheby’s ranks number one globally for the number of cars sold for more than $1,000,000.

The move will see the organisation grow its property footprint in London, moving from the premises it has held at New Bond Street in the City for some three and a half years, as the business seeks to expand its European operations. 

Mark Llewelyn Jones, the partner at Vail Williams who advised on the deal, said: “Buildings of this kind come to market once in a blue moon and we are delighted to have secured this distinguished building which will support the future growth of the business over the next 10 years.”

As part of the deal, Vail Williams negotiated the ability for RM Sotheby’s to make occasional use of the forecourt surrounding the building to display vehicles prior to auction, which during the pandemic are taking place online. 

1975 Porsche 911 Turbo, to be offered in RM Sotheby’s upcoming Online Only: Open Roads, The European Summer Auction, 14-21 July at Credit – ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Jamie Munday, Asset Manager at Orchard Street, concluded: “Heron House is a striking and distinguished property both inside and out, and makes an ideal fit for the new home of such an esteemed auction house. RM Sotheby’s decision to relocate from prime central London to suburban Richmond represents a strong endorsement for the location, as well as the quality of office space on offer.

“To be able to sympathetically refurbish and enhance a Grade II listed building, against the backdrop of Covid-19, is a testament to Orchard Street’s asset management expertise and exemplifies our ability to consistently deliver secure income streams on behalf of our clients.”

RM Sotheby’s moved into the new premises with effect from 4 June. RM Sotheby’s was advised by Vail Williams LLP and Orchard Street was advised by Michael Rogers LLP.

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, sold for €759,000 from The Petitjean Collection in RM Sotheby’s recent highly successful Online Only: The European Sale Credit – Diana Varga © 2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s