The Fine Art Society will be leaving 148 New Bond Street.

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The Fine Art Society is looking for a new location but has not confirmed where. It also operates a gallery in Dundas Street in Edinburgh’s New Town.

Rising rents following increasing demand from global luxury and fashion retailers have forced many galleries to leave Mayfair or move to the upper floors. Those remaining on ground floors are mainly contemporary art-focused, or those who own the freehold of their premises.

Last year, international contemporary art business Thaddaeus Ropac moved into the former home of antiques dealer Mallett’s in Dover Street. Philip Mould & Co moved from Dover Street to Pall Mall in 2015.

Rising rents

Even contemporary galleries have chosen to leave Mayfair: Albemarle Gallery moved from Albemarle Street to Cadogan Gardens in Chelsea last year after the rent was to increase five-fold.

Owner Tony Pontone told ATG: “In Mayfair landlords appear to be after the highest rent they can get and it is becoming a place just for high-end fashion retailers.”

Alan Cristea left Mayfair for Pall Mall in St James’s in 2016.

He said: “You have to be pretty successful to stand a chance with Mayfair rents.

“Overall, relatively few galleries can afford rents anywhere in the West End.”

Bond Street

The Fine Art Society has been on New Bond Street for more than 142 years.

The Fine Art Society’s five-storey townhouse at 148 New Bond Street has been its home since 1876.

Rent on the property is more than £1m a year.

Halcyon Gallery, founded in 1982 and run by businessman Ehud Sheleg, specialises in modern and contemporary art. Paul Green, president of Halcyon Gallery, confirmed it will expand into the new gallery but also keep its existing premises at 144-146 New Bond Street.

It runs another space at 29 New Bond Street.

Green said: “We are excited about the opportunity to increase the offering to our customers and to new collectors.” 

The Fine Art Society and property adviser Levy Real Estate declined to comment.