It’s been all change in the boardroom at Horton Estates, with 68-year-old Michael Horton stepping down as chairman after seven years in the post and 44 years as a director.
He was succeeded by Richard Samuda – a non-family member – while 39-year-old Peter Horton is now the senior family member on the board.
One of Richard Samuda’s first announcements as chairman was good news for the Grand Hotel in Colmore Row, which has been largely empty and unloved for the last few years. It’s unlikely to remain as a hotel, but could find a new future as high quality office and retail space.
Wise gearing has protected Hortons from the worst of the property downturn, and the company has reported net assets of £191 million and a pre-tax profit of £7.5 million for the year ending September 2007. It is still 100 per cent owned by the Horton family.
Hortons is stepping up its development activity while streamlining its investment portfolio. The last 12 months have seen the company acquire development and investment opportunities in Coventry, Solihull, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire as well as undertaking an office space joint venture with Business Homes on a 3.5 acre site at Birmingham Business Park.
Michael Horton’s great, great grandfather Isaac – a pig farmer and butcher – began the company in 1871 when he acquired the Midland Hotel in Birmingham – now the 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 the Colmore Row-based 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.
Major Hortons projects include the acclaimed £20 million mixed use Innovation Square on Edmund Street, Latham House in Paradise Street which has undergone a £1.8 million refurbishment, Great Park off junction four of the M5, a prime industrial site at Wayside in Coventry and an office development on Kettering Venture Park.
Hortons is a supporter of a number of worthy causes. These include Macmillan Cancer Research, the Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull and the NSPCC, Horton’s corporate charity. The company is also a supporter of the arts and music.