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Danny Desmond

Ranking: 879=
Worth: £90m
Source of wealth: Property

John De Stefano Property. De Stefano, 62, owns De Stefano Investment Corporation, which has nearly £79m net assets, and has a stake in a restaurant chain.


Danny Desmond -

# Chairman of Mayfair-based Bride Hall, which he set up in 1983 after leaving home counties development group Hunting Gate
# Built up a £500m development programme during the late 1980s, when Great Portland bought a large stake in Bride Hall
# In the last recession the company hit trouble, but it rode out the storm, bought back the stake from Great Portland and has reaped the rewards in recent years. Desmond is now a more cautious character, although he was once known for his love of the high life
# He stepped back from the day-to-day running of Bride Hall in recent years, but is still in overall charge of the group. In April’s Sunday Times Rich List Desmond’s wealth was estimated at £39m.


Danny Desmond - Chairman & Chief Executive - Bride Hall Group

Danny Desmond’s career in property started when he joined Chartered Surveyors
Jackson Stops and Staff. In 1968 he moved into direct property development upon
joining Hunting Gate, a construction and development group. Two years later he
became a Director and in 1976, a major shareholder and Group Managing Director.
In the following seven years, Hunting Gate expanded dramatically in all divisions of
U.K. property development, construction and private house building sectors. In the
same period, an active and successful development arm was established in the U.S.
In late 1983, Danny Desmond left Hunting Gate to form Bride Hall, the new company
named after his Elizabethan home in Hertfordshire. Within a two year period, a
development programme exceeding £250 million had been built up and a highly
talented development team assembled. At the end of the third year, a 50% stake
was sold to Great Portland Estates for a sum in excess of £10m.
Today, the Company has a diversified and well financed development programme
throughout the U.K. with a value exceeding £500 million. Great Portland Estate’s
stake was repurchased in 1992 and in 2004 a 25% stake was sold to Warner
Holdings forming a valuable alliance giving Warner access to Bride Hall
Development’s expertise and Bride Hall access to the opportunity to work jointly with
Warner on development opportunities within their £1 billion + portfolio.

Contact Details
49 Hays Mews, London, W1J 5QQ
Telephone: 020 7493 3996
020 7499 4388


Danny Desmond steps back but keeps it in the family


By Giles Barrie
Colourful developer Danny Desmond takes a back seat as son Nigel and Alistair Shaw take stakes in Bride Hall
A new generation is taking over at Bride Hall, the private property company formed and owned by legendary developer Danny Desmond.

New joint managing directors Nigel Desmond and Alistair Shaw, along with one other executive they hope to recruit soon, are taking up to 40% of the equity in the company while Desmond himself takes a back seat.

Danny Desmond will remain as chairman and chief executive of Bride Hall Group, which controls the firm’s small investment portfolio. However, his son and Shaw’s running of main company Bride Hall Developments, which has a £150m development programme, will be formalised.

Although Desmond senior will remain as chairman of Bride Hall Developments, he will have less day-to-day involvement. Since 1983 he has developed 371,610 sq m (4m sq ft) of space with an investment value of £1bn.

He said: ‘My intention is to make 35-40% of the company available to executives who will be making a substantial contribution to the company. I have just turned 60 and, going into a new century it seemed an appropriate time to loosen the reins.’

Nigel Desmond and ex-Healey & Baker and hesterton man Shaw want to build the development programme back up to the £500m that it reached in the late 1980s – the company’s heyday, when it was renowned for its lavish Bride Hall Ball.

In December it sold a development let to Credit Agricole in Mayfair’s Curzon Street to Friends Provident for £13m, and it also sold a 3,250 sq m (35,000 sq ft) office scheme, pre-let to Cornhill Insurance, to Guinness Pension Fund for £10m.

It is carrying out a £26m mixed development in Bexleyheath, Kent, and is working in co-operation with Chelsfield on its £750m White City scheme.


Swing city - Danny Desmond


By Giles Barrie -

If you are tying to improve your handicap but find that work gets in the way, champion golfer Nick Faldo and developer Danny Desmond's £50m new vision for golf courses could be your answer.
Can't face writing the next appraisal? Weary of the air conditioning? Bored of chatting about yields in the bar?

Well, the answer to your mid-morning, lunchtime and after-work prayers could soon be at hand thanks to a new partnership between Britain's greatest golfer and one of property's best-known entrepreneurs. Six-times majors winner Nick Faldo and Danny Desmond, chairman of privately owned developer Bride Hall, are teaming up with an important new venture to build and revive golf courses around the UK.

One of their focal targets is inner cities. Faldo and Desmond believe there is strong demand for golf courses, mini-golf courses and driving ranges among professionals working in the heart of the big cities.

Sport in the city
Speaking exclusively to Property Week the duo, who have been friends for 22 years, reveal they are planning to create a leisure fund to raise finance for their golf-related schemes. The venture is part of an important transition for Faldo from world-class sportsman to entrepreneur. He says: 'This is an exciting time for me. We have identified the opportunities and I now want to move on them.

'Obviously at my age [44] and with my new life [in July he was married for the third time] I want to wind down my golf. I still have the odd good week but it's frustrating that I can't do it all the time.'

Faldo famously hit a crisis in the mid-1990s when his game and his private life fell apart. However, he now appears more relaxed and is looking forward to immersing himself in the business world. As a result, he has teamed up with Danny Desmond, who believes Faldo will show his customary drive and dedication in their new venture.

'We can see the opportunities in golf and property,' the developer says. 'We are talking to recognised leisure investors – four or six would be a good number to bring together.' It is understood they want to raise £50m.

Teeing off
The golf-related activities will form a new arm of Bride Hall, which has thrived in the last three years through an aggressive development programme and strong relationships with institutions.

'Just as we have people who specialise in shopping or offices, we will have a leisure man at Bride Hall when this is up and running,' Desmond says.

Canary Wharf is one of the first sites Faldo and Danny Desmond are targeting, in an attempt to Unite the golfer's sporting expertise with Bride Hall's deal-making and planning abilities to strike a deal. Faldo and Desmond believe the Docklands complex, where 41,000 people work, would be an ideal place for a driving range across the water.

As Desmond says: 'Canary Wharf would be a good option. If you look at the hours the guys work down there – it's 6am until god knows when – the chance to belt a few balls during a break should appeal.'

The duo also have revolutionary ideas for new inner city golf courses which, while constrained for space, could help freeholders put redundant land to work and accommodate half a dozen par 3 holes.

The pair also intend to take over existing golf courses and inject Faldo's course-design expertise, as well as adding a Nick's Grill or a Jug & Jacket – named after the Green Jacket Faldo won twice at the US Masters.

Above all, they are dedicated to a top-quality approach. 'If you are going to put the name of the greatest golfer the UK has ever produced to this, it has got to be good,' Desmond explains. And Faldo still has a fanatical following among golfers. While slaving over their own games they have followed him tortuously rebuilding his swing and his obsessive attention to detail.

“If you are going to put the name of the greatest golfer the UK has ever produced to this, it has got to be good ”

Danny Desmond

Long links
While and Danny Desmond are not obvious partners, they share a mutual respect and clearly enjoy each other's company. Just as Faldo was hitting superstardom in 1987, Bride Hall struck a deal to advertise on his golf bag, and for the last five years Desmond has chaired Faldo's advisory council.

Desmond, who in late 1999 stepped back to leave the day-to-day running of Bride Hall to his son Nigel and ex-Healey & Baker man Alastair Shaw, emphasises that the golf venture is an addition to Bride Hall's business. It will in no way take over from the development programme, through which the company has built and sold a shopping centre in Bexleyheath, north Kent, and pulled off a string of prelet retail warehouse deals.

For Faldo, the tie-up with Bride Hall will complement his existing Faldo Design, Faldo Golf Institute and Faldo Junior Series businesses.

Faldo Design has already completed projects in eight countries, including one at Berlin's Sporting Club which was the venue for the 2000 World Amateur Team Championship and at Mission Hills in Shenzen, China.

He now wants to design a tougher links course in Scotland or Ireland. In golf-course design, he is up against his old rival Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus, from an older generation, to win business.

Faldo says: 'I enjoy the competitive side of winning the deal – the chase, if you like. But I want the Faldo name to mean more than golf. I'd love it if the business world really rated the Faldo brand.' The design company is on course for a £1m profit and is only in its second year.

The Faldo Institute in Orlando, Florida, is a joint venture based around coaching golfers with hotel operator Marriott which Faldo wants to repeat at championship courses around the world. And Faldo Junior is aimed at teaching younger golfers.

Faldo and Desmond believe they can help improve demand for golf courses and surrounding developments through initiatives such as tuition, because many golfers now quit the game because of frustration with their technique.

On the green
But is the demand for golf-related development really there? Insignia Hotels director Chris Rouse says: 'Clearly hotels and golf can work together really well – Gleneagles and the Belfry spring to mind.

'At Gleneagles what is remarkable is that what was once a five-month operation is now an all-year-round location. But with golf it is quite important to provide a mix of challenges. A golfer on holiday is looking to play more than one course, so it can help to link up with other locations.

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