Property crisis? Not for industry chief John Burns, the managing director of Derwent London, a property development and investment company. Last week, Mr Burns, 64, was credited with doing the “deal of the year” at the Norwood property awards.
Judged by a selection of property professionals, including Property Week editor Giles Barrie, the accolade was for the £1 billion-plus merger of his Derwent Valley Holdings and London Merchant Securities, which took place last summer. The deal was deemed significant because is involved two large West End companies putting their assets together to create a portfolio in excess of £1 billion — and all in Central London.
“It was a great deal but it wasn’t all about me,” says Mr Burns, who began his a career as an agent before buying Derwent Valley in 1985 together with his step-brother, Simon Silver.
Is he worried about the current market? He tells People: “It is slow at the moment, but we just have to bide our time. We have seen this all before and these things tend to be cyclical. They will right themselves in the end. Bricks and mortar are still a superb investment.” Over the past 20 years, Derwent has earned a reputation for refurbishing properties in offbeat Central-London locations.
He lives in South-West London and is married with two children.