MEPC is the second-largest property investment and development company in the UK.
The business was founded by Claude Moss Leigh, a pioneer of social housing in the UK, who in 1929 established the Metropolitan Housing Corporation to provide rented accomodation in London. In 1946, following the introduction of rent controls, Leigh focussed on commercial property and merged his business with several other property companies to form the Metropolitan Estates & Property Corporation.
Early investments concentrated on land purchases and financing property construction. Development did not contribute significantly to the firm’s activities until the late 1950s. The early years of the company saw steady expansion, largely by the takeover of other property companies.
Metropolitan Estate established its first overseas subsidiaries in South Africa in 1948 and Canada in 1955. During the 1960s, the firm successfully entered the Australian and European markets.
When Claude Leigh died in 1964, Metropolitan Estate had grown into the fourth largest property company in the UK, its capital at that time amounting to £50 million.
In 1973 Metropolitan Estate adopted the shortened name MEPC.
During the 1970s the company launched a number of ambitious development initiatives. These included large shopping projects in London, Guildford and Birmingham, as well as overseas shopping malls in Honolulu, Munich and Frankfurt. Other notable projects included the West One building in Oxford Street, London, the Long Acre office development in Covent Garden, and the Friary Centre in Guildford.
In 2000 MEPC was acquired by Leconport Estates, a joint venture between the British Telecom Pension Fund and GE Capital. In 2003 GE Capital sold its investment to the British Telecom Pension Fund. Since then the Royal Mail has acquired a substantial shareholding.