Birmingham-based Horton Estates – run by Peter Horton, 44 – is developing a £5 million out-of-town shopping centre on land beside the M6 Toll at Cannock, creating more than 60 jobs. The land was bought by Hortons and Trebor Developments from Staffordshire County Council and the first of the new retail units on the land is expected to open later this year.
It is the latest joint venture between Hortons and Trebor, following retail projects at Hagley Road in Birmingham and Princess Alice Drive in Sutton Coldfield.
But the most high-profile Hortons project is the ambitious plan to return the city’s Grand Hotel to its former glory. Work is progressing well and the hotel has already become a TV star.
The elegant restored Grosvenor Suite was used as a location for Stephen Poliakoff’s 1930s period drama series “Dancing on the Edge”.
The £30 million scheme is transforming the Colmore Row listed building into a luxury 152 room hotel with eight suites and a new entrance in Church Street The façade is being restored and the hotel’s interior renovated. Shops which form part of the hotel’s frontage are also being refurbished, and an opening is expected later this year.
Also in Colmore Row – which is where Hortons has been based for more than 100 years – the company has welcomed a second tenant to its Cathedral Court building at 15 Colmore Row. Accountancy firm Dains has taken a 10 year lease on 6,930 sq ft of grade A space on the third floor.
Earlier last year property consultancy Rider Levett Bucknall relocated its Birmingham office and UK headquarters to Cathedral Court. The company is also involved in a £1.2 million refurbishment scheme for Enterprise House and Innovation Court on Edmund Street.
Elsewhere, supply chain specialist Wincanton became the first occupier to sign up to Horton’s Estates Marchington Industrial Estate in Staffordshire. The estate is made up of 1.3 million sq ft of industrial and warehousing space in 34 buildings.
The Hagley Road Retail Park, which was acquired by Hortons in September 2010, is fully let. In addition, Hortons has been expanding operations for China’s biggest lighting manufacturer – NVC Manufacturing – on its site at Hollymoor Point. NVC acquired the unit it was previously leasing and commissioned Hortons to supply a second unit.
The Colmore Row company has made significant acquisitions and has a valuable portfolio which attracts rents in excess of £15 million a year. The company is estimated to be worth more than £115 million. It made an £8.9 million profit in 2010-11.
Peter Horton leads the Horton family as deputy chairman on the board of Horton Estates. His father, 72 year-old Michael Horton, stepped down as chairman in 2008 after seven years in the post and 44 years as a director. He now runs the award-winning Cotswold Inns and Hotels.
He was succeeded by Richard Samuda – a non-family member – while Peter Horton is now the senior family member on the board.
The current portfolio amounts to two million sq ft of premises, let to more than 600 tenants. Most of the company’s investments – some 60 per cent – are in Birmingham with nearly 20 per cent in Wolverhampton. The family also has hotel interests in the Cotswolds.
Michael Horton’s great, great grandfather Isaac – a pig farmer and butcher from Lichfield – began the company in 1871 when he acquired the Midland Hotel in Birmingham – which is now the Macdonald Burlington – and set about developing it. He also built the Grand Hotel and by the time of his death in 1880 had established a substantial property business.
Since then Hortons Estate has become one of the Midlands most prominent family-owned property companies.
Isaac is buried at Key Hill Cemetery in the Jewellery Quarter.
Hortons and its staff are supporters of a number of worthy causes, and raise money for bowel cancer research among other charities. Hortons is also an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and music.