Property developer Taylor McWilliams, who DJs as Taylor HK and runs Hondo Enterprises, also bought the space of shuttered Club 414.
McWilliams, whose solo alias is Taylor HK, is a property developer from Texas who runs the investment firm Hondo Enterprises. He bought Brixton Village and Market Row for £37.25 million in 2018.
In recent months, McWilliams' ownership of Brixton Market has come back into focus, as Nour Cash & Carry was served with a Section 25 notice to vacate by July 22nd, 2020. Nour, which has been running for more than 20 years, serves 90 percent of nearby restaurants, according to the Change.org petition. In late April, the Save Nour, Save Brixton campaign organised a protest on a Housekeeping livestream broadcast via Zoom.
"Taylor's efforts to shut down a shop that many people rely on for their heritage foods has made us feel unwelcome in our own home," Save Nour's GoFundMe page reads. "We want him to understand that his callous gentrification is not welcome in Brixton."
This week, Nour and all Brixton Village and Market Row tenants were granted a three-month rent holiday, Brixton Buzz reports. The Save Nour campaign confirmed to Resident Advisor that this did not affect Nour's eviction date.
In an April 28th statement to Dazed, Hondo said it had offered Nour an alternate location, for which "the planning permission [was] recently approved," a Hondo spokesperson confirmed in a statement to RA today. (Back in January, the Guardian's Jay Rayner flagged that plans for the promised alternate space were not approved.) In the earlier Dazed statement, Hondo said, "We are not carrying out any evictions at this time and have been in discussions with Nour for almost a year." RA asked Hondo to clarify that sentence, and Hondo replied, "We are not carrying out any evictions as we hope to retain Nour within the market. We are building them a new unit within the market, with the planning permission recently approved. The current offer put to Nour meets all their most up to date requirements that they put to us, including lower rent than they are currently on." (RA has asked Hondo when the planned work on Nour's new space is expected to be done considering Nour's July 22nd eviction date.)
"The reason the eviction notice had to be given was so that work could start on the new electrical substation," Hondo said in the statement to RA. Hondo provided further detail on the electrical issue: "Unfortunately, Brixton Market has had an issue with insufficient power for many years, with a number of tenants reporting prolonged power cuts. Hondo has been unable to meet the requests of a number of existing tenants to upgrade their power and upgrades requested for new units as the existing [UK Power Networks] infrastructure to the market is at its capacity... After working closely with UKPN and independent advisors, UKPN found that the requirements needed would preclude any other location and thereby confirmed the rear of unit 23 location (Nour's unit). The quicker this new substation is in and working, the quicker we will be able to fully supply the market traders with the power that they need and fill the existing vacant units."
The Save Nour campaign addressed Hondo's given reason for eviction in their most recent Facebook post from earlier this month. "Neither Nour nor Lambeth Council have ever seen any plans from UKPN. There's no evidence UKPN have insisted the substation go in Nour's unit," the post reads (see it in full here). Since then, MP Helen Hayes and some Lambeth Council members have moved to support Nour, "calling for the eviction notice to be withdrawn and for Nour to stay in their current unit."
When asked if Hondo or McWilliams have gotten in touch with the campaign, Save Nour shared screenshots of messages the official Housekeeping Twitter account is sending "to anyone who calls out DJ Taylor McWilliams." The messages are an attempt to distinguish the group from the "one person separately involved in Hondo, which is a different company and the subject of your grievance." The third screenshot is of a memo noting that Hondo Enterprises Limited has indefinitely loaned Housekeeping Events Ltd more than £200,000. Save Nour said the Housekeeping account has blocked them on Twitter.
How to support the Save Nour, Save Brixton campaign:
• Donate via GoFundMe
• Sign the petition via Change.org
• Subscribe to Save Nour campaign updates
• Follow Save Nour on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information
McWilliams' Hondo Enterprises also bought venue Club 414, which had been in business for 30 years, in August 2019. Founders Louise Barron and Tony Pommell were forced to close the club ahead of the sale in May 2019 after a long struggle against developers. McWilliams framed the sale as Hondo "saving" the local institution: "We are completely committed to Brixton and want to preserve its unique history and culture... When the opportunity presented itself we therefore felt we had to step in and save Club 414, an iconic entertainment venue in the heart of Brixton." Despite Hondo's promises to "reopen in the coming months" and search for "a new tenant that will be able to retain the diverse, fun and world-famous atmosphere of 414," the venue remains disused. (See more of Hondo's properties on its official website.)
Housekeeping's three other members are Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe (step-brother of Cressida Bonas), Sebastian Macdonald-Hall (Evolve Estates director) and Carl Waxberg (Citibank director). The London-based group has played at several Ibiza venues, London's Printworks, fabric and KOKO, and other clubs in Europe and the US. For more on McWilliams and Housekeeping, Hondo Enterprises and Save Nour, read The Quietus's in-depth feature.
Learn more about Brixton Market's history and McWilliams' involvement in this Save Nour video.
We have emailed this video to multimillionaire Taylor McWilliams with this message:— Save Nour Save Brixton (@SaveNour) June 10, 2020
If you carry out this eviction, you will not be welcome in Brixton. It is you who is not wanted here. It is you who is not needed.'
Watch in full to see why. #savenour pic.twitter.com/eX1qkQ7lYw
3 ways to help Save Nour:— Save Nour Save Brixton (@SaveNour) June 10, 2020
> donate, if you can afford to, to support the campaignhttps://t.co/XybEtZbXOK
> sign and share the petitionhttps://t.co/xzOerD23Mj
> follow @SaveNour (Insta save_nour). As lockdown lifts we will be posting IRL actions and will need support and RTs
This post has been updated throughout to include comment from Hondo Enterprises and a June 3rd statement from Save Nour. A reference to Brixton Village and Lost In Brixton has been removed.
Photo credit: Save Nour