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GM Real Estate Founder Tony Gibbon Takes On Six Questions He's Never Been Asked Before

Tony Gibbon's real estate career is so expansive and well documented, you probably know the basics. From his first real estate job (aged 15, making tea and fetching files at the Pru) to master of his own empire, where he spends his days bringing investors from the US to the UK, you’ve likely read about most everything he has done. So Bisnow decided to ask some questions he’s not usually asked.

BH2's Tony Gibbon

Bisnow: What are your favourite neighbourhoods in London?

Tony: As my family is from the East End, there! I’m amazed by the evolution of Shoreditch and it's interesting to watch areas like Kentish Town change in front of my eyes. Basically, anywhere with a boxing club! Like in New York, areas around the periphery were neglected for years but are now regarded as becoming popular. "Follow the artists" as they say.

At Kings Cross, Argent has done a phenomenal job of placemaking. It’s a great example of an area that was previously run down and impoverished becoming a real community.

Bisnow: How do you feel about Brexit?

Tony: I voted for it. Whilst I understood the concerns of the Remainers, it seems to me to be the best thing for the country as things stand today. For me it has nothing to do with immigration, more economics. Having really thought about it and talked to people that I respect, intellectually, it seemed the only way to go.

Bisnow: I’d like to know about one of your failures.

Tony: Professionally, not being able to keep the original firm (BH2) together. Some of the people that we "lost" have gone on to make real careers for themselves, the likes of Stephen Clifton spring to mind, whilst others have returned after years in the "green wilderness" Another "loss" was not managing to finalise the recruitment of Nigel Fox, who would have made a real difference. There is no point talking about "lost’ transactions"—they are just one of those things. If things aren’t meant to happen, they won’t.

Bisnow: What advice would you give a young person just entering the real estate world?

Tony: Learn the business before you start trying to give advice. Have integrity and be honest. Conduct yourself properly and whilst standing up for yourself do so in the best interest of whoever it is you are representing. Take the long-term view.

Bisnow: What are you proudest of?

Tony: Professionally, it would have to be how we (predominantly the late Alan Winter and myself) pieced together the site at 30 St. Mary Axe and conceived an opportunity to build a tower on a site that was previously occupied by a listed building. The Gherkin led the way when it came to tall buildings in the City and whilst we have been involved in most of the others that have arrived subsequently, its design and iconic nature are "special."

Bisnow: What do you do for fun?

Tony: I still train every weekday morning at St. Pancras Boxing Club. I play golf as often as I can and I am a trustee of two theatres whilst helping run four other charities. I’m also the father of five children. As such, I’m a pretty busy person.

Join Tony and other industry pros at Bisnow’s London State of the Market event on Nov. 17 at the InterContinental Hotel. Details and tickets can be found here.