Ones to Watch
Estates Gazette Supplement

Ones to Watch

When it comes to calling the shots in property, being top of the tree is what matters, right?  But keep an eye on those rising through the ranks, the ambitious influencers of tomorrow.  David Thame finds new names for your little black book.

Kathrin Hersel, Almacantar
Kathrin Hersel arrived in London as a student – and she’s still here.

Today Hersel, a pop-up restaurant-loving, Wimbledon-living Berliner, is development director at Almacantar, responsible for major redevelopments at Marble Arch and Centre Point.

Hersel moved to Almacantar in 2012 after eight years at Land Securities, where she worked on projects including the Walkie-Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street, New Street Square, and One New Change.  Hersel isn’t planning to return to Berlin.

“I think I’m in London for good, now,” she says.  “I have been here 12 years, and initially I thought I was just coming for a master’s degree [in property economics] but London is wonderful.  You can find history next door to the newest buildings, and that is important to a city that is always reinventing itself.”

The arts scene and good food add to the appeal, she says.  Hersel isn’t alone – 2.8m foreign-born people live in London, about one-third of the capital’s total population, making it one of the most international cities on earth.

Hersel knows that the buildings she is responsible for have to respond to London’s people-based economy.

“The young want to be in busy areas, and what we can do is create the right mix of uses, a genuine mix of uses, and good public realm, which all plays a role,” she says.

Almacantar has submitted Rafael Vinoly-designed proposals for Marble Arch, which include a 17-storey, 53-flat tower at the corner of Oxford Street and Edgeware Road.

The scheme would replace the existing 24-storey West End block.  A planning decision is expected this spring, and word on site could be under way by this time next year.