Commercial Property News

Our magazines are published bi-monthly with in-depth features and news for the commercial property industry. On this page we have the latest news to keep you constantly updated on the market. On the left hand side of the page you can search our archived news which is stored monthly.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Rosyth Office Space Sells for £4 million

Acting on behalf of Scarborough Development Group, international property consultancy Knight Frank and Redpath Bruce have sold Caledonia House for £4 million, which represents an initial yield of 6.91%.

London and Oriental has acquired the office space, which provides 21,070 sq ft of modern open plan accommodation over two floors. The property is part of Innova Campus which is located within Rosyth Europarc adjacent to the Forth Road Bridge and Rosyth Ferry Terminal. Caledonia House is also within close proximity to the planned mixed use development, Fisher Campus.

The building benefits from a high specification including a suspended ceiling with CAT2 lighting, male/female and disabled toilets, gas fired central heating, kitchen facilities, full raised access floor, 8 person passenger lift and an air conditioning system.

The ground floor is currently let to Governor & Company of Bank of Scotland until May 2010, while the first floor is occupied by the Secretary of State for Defence until July 2017 with a break in 2012.

Roddy Abram, from Knight Frank, said: "We had a lot of interest in Caledonia House as it represented a good investment opportunity. The property is ideally located on the business commuter belt between Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee and with big companies such as HBOS already taking up space in Innova Campus demand for office space in Rosyth looks set to grow."

BUREDI Cheers Brewery Site Development

BUREDI a joint venture between The Burrell Company and EDI Group has today obtained planning permission for a £70 million canal-side development in Edinburgh's Fountainbridge.

The scheme will see nearly 200 new homes built on the canal side site, centred around new city street: a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard called Freer Street.

Work is expected to start on site at the end of 2006 with the first units being released for sale in early 2008. The plan combines 71,500 sq ft of canal-side office space with two and three-bedroom apartments, duplexes, penthouses and family-style townhouses.

The proposals will deliver environmental and landscaping benefits for the former industrial site. These include new pedestrian and cycle routes, a public courtyard garden, an innovative mix of family and city-style homes and underground car parking for 120 vehicles.

BUREDI's Freer Street blueprint also includes a new footbridge over the Union Canal, establishing a major new pedestrian link between residential areas to the south and the city's booming financial Exchange District. BUREDI will work with British Waterways to realise the plans for the footbridge.

The scheme has been drawn up for BUREDI by Allan Murray Architects, whose masterplan for the area led to the Council's implementation plan for the entire Fountainbridge area. Allan Murray Architects has previously worked with BUREDI on its award-winning Coalhill and Tron Nursery developments.

Freer Street is part of a larger city changing project to regenerate the Fountainbridge area and will complement further schemes by other developers, including phase two of Edinburgh Quay, in line with the Council's Development Brief for the area.

The scheme has been drawn up for BUREDI by Allan Murray Architects (AMA), the master-planner for the entire Fountainbridge area, the city's largest regeneration site. AMA has previously worked with BUREDI on its award-winning Cowgate Under 5s Centre and Coalhill developments.

Speaking on behalf of BUREDI, John Mark Di Ciacca, Head of Property and Development at EDI, said: "We're looking forward to breathing new life into an area of the city that is so well located, immediately next to the commercial and transport hubs of the Exchange District and the Haymarket. Freer Street promises to be a vibrant new city quarter, that will see this former industrial area regenerated and returned to public use."

Andrew Burrell, Managing Director of The Burrell Company, said: "This former industrial site has been ripe for development for a number years. It is a superb location, offering easy access in and out of the city, and the redevelopment of the wider district will make it an extremely attractive area to people who would like a city-centre home."

Beancross Hotel, Bar, Restaurant & Function Rooms sold to London & Edinburgh Inns

Creevy LLH, acting on behalf of Finn Inns Ltd, has sold the Beancross Hotel, a popular bar, restaurant, hotel and function room at Falkirk / Grangemouth to London & Edinburgh Inns.

Alan Creevy says that the sale was "a full circle instruction for his company".

"I originally met with the Directors of Finn Inns at Beancross when it was nothing more than a farm house and barn in the 1990s," says Mr. Creevy.

"I acted on their behalf and acquired the site and watched the original development of a fantastic family restaurant and bar facility and, thereafter, a subsequent extension of a hotel and function room. I have worked with Finn Inns throughout the entire project and was delighted to finish this off in a disposal of the business to London & Edinburgh Inns."

Beancross, which comprises a large bar and restaurant facility with three distinct dining areas, including the feature "Horse Engine Restaurant" and indoor and outdoor children's play area, a separate function room with a capacity for up to 375 persons, 14 top quality bedrooms and 130 car parking spaces.

The sale was conducted on a totally confidential basis off an asking price of £3.5 million. Alan Creevy comments: "This was a multi-million pound transaction with both sides delighted with the outcome."

"The licensed, leisure and hotel property market remains very active, with many corporate buyers around, as well as individuals keen to assemble groups.

"The hotel market in particular remains buoyant and, whilst it is early days, the smoking ban, introduced in March 2006, seems to have had little impact operationally and, therefore, there are many buyers returning to the bar and restaurant market. The risk associated with the post smoking ban in England means that funds are now flowing into Scotland for corporate acquisitions," adds Mr. Creevy

RICS updates valuation guidelines on new build residential property

RICS is to clarify the guidance it provides to its members on the valuation of new build residential properties. These changes follow the recommendations of a joint CML and RICS working party which was convened to consider concerns over the difficulties facing valuers where sales incentives are offered by developers in an often less than transparent manner.

It is not uncommon for furnishings and fittings, "cash-backs", holidays or even new cars to be offered as incentives by developers to encourage people to buy new residential properties. These incentives can have a distorting effect on the market in that the price paid may not reflect the market value of the property.

Valuers have always been required to provide mortgage lenders with an objective opinion of market value. This updated guidance should further assist them in this role.

The updated guidance in RICS' "Red Book" for valuers emphasises the need for valuers to be on their guard when valuing new build residential property and the effect of any sales incentives which could have a distorting effect on the agreed sale price. Valuers may also need to look for comparable evidence beyond the immediate development.

Andrew Gooding, RICS Valuation Faculty Director said: "Valuation of newly built residential property is not always as straight forward as it may appear, especially in situations where localised excess of supply over demand encourages developers to offer sales incentives. RICS valuers need to be wise to these issues."

Jackie Bennett, head of policy at the Council of Mortgage Lenders said: "We welcome the greater price transparency that this new guidance will help to foster. Lenders will be able to have greater confidence as a result."

Allsop advise Dorrington Properties on £34m purchase

Dorrington Properties, advised by Allsop & Co, have purchased St Clare House, London, EC3 for £34m reflecting an initial yield of 6.1%.

The building is a 90,000 square foot tower and podium, which is multi let to 21 office occupiers together with 3 restaurants on the ground floor.

Robert Harris of Dorrington commented "This kind of space offers fantastic value to occupiers, and the rents are cheap in an historical context. We believe that we will see good rental growth over the next few years."

Allsops acted for Dorrington and Strutt and Parker acted for Hemingway.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Henderson UK Shopping Centre Fund buys St James, Edinburgh, for £184 million

Henderson Global Investors, the independent asset manager with £67.7 billion under management, has confirmed its purchase of the 450,000 sqft St James Shopping Centre in Edinburgh. The Henderson UK Shopping Centre Fund (the 'Fund') bought the Centre from Irish investor Donegal Place Investments for £184 million in a deal reflecting an equivalent yield of 5.2%.

BTW Shiells acted on behalf of the vendor and Cushman & Wakefield and Morgan Williams acted on behalf of Henderson.

In a further acquisition, Henderson has also purchased St James House, an adjoining 240,000 sqft office block, a previous home of the Scottish Office and Royal Bank of Scotland, which is situated on top of the centre. Henderson has secured the building from Omega Land Limited, the Morgan Stanley backed development company. Omega are taking units in the JPUT that now owns St James, as they wish to benefit from the long term growth of the centre.

This is the first time in the history of St James that both interests have been held by the same owner, unlocking a major regeneration opportunity in Edinburgh city centre. Henderson will be looking to appoint a design team shortly to progress its proposals to comprehensively redevelop the site.

The existing Centre, which fronts onto Leith Street and Multrees Walk, is anchored by John Lewis and comprises over fifty units. Other major tenants include Top Shop, Next, River Island and HMV.

Dominating the eastern end of Edinburgh's New Town, a UNESCO world heritage site, both the shopping centre and the office block, built in 1973, are dated and out of character with their current setting, surrounded by many period listed buildings.

Commenting on both deals, Myles White, the Henderson Shopping Centre Fund Manager, commented: "There is considerable demand for modern retail space within the city centre but a distinct lack of supply. Edinburgh's historic setting has resulted in very little suitable new retail space becoming available in recent years leading to substantial leakage of retail expenditure as retailers have gone to surrounding centres, particularly Glasgow. We are aware of demand for at least 500,000 sq ft of quality new retail space, and given the planning restrictions in the city centre, St James is the only site that can accommodate this amount of new space in a modern format and comfortable environment."

The purchase of the St James Centre is further evidence of considerable growth in the Henderson Shopping Centre Fund over the past twelve months. Since June 2005 its net asset value has grown from just under £400 million to over £760 million. Other assets in the Fund include Bullring, Birmingham; Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow; Princes Quay, Hull; and shares in Bluewater, Kent, and Touchwood, Solihull, through the Lend Lease Retail Partnership.

Myles says: "The Henderson UK Shopping Centre Fund is focused on long term investment in dominant assets in major UK cities. Henderson believes that there is major long term out performance from this investment. The acquisition of St James complements the Fund portfolio and provides strong growth prospects for our investors. We are keen to invest further in similar assets."

Neil Varnham, Head of Retail, commenting on Henderson's expanding UK and European retail business said: "Henderson continues to look for new opportunities across a range of sectors both in this country and in continental Europe. Retail property in the UK continues to offer considerable returns despite the current well publicised difficulties in the consumer economy. Dominant city centre schemes, such as St James, will continue to deliver good returns, especially when they provide significant redevelopment opportunities such as this."

HBG Properties Completes Discovery Quay, Dundee

Discovery Quay Development, a joint venture between HBG Properties, Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Highbridge Properties, is delighted to announce the completion of the final phase at Discovery Quay in Dundee.

Discovery Quay, a mixed use scheme of some 25 acres, comprises the development of a 67,000 sq ft superstore, 30,000 sq ft non-food retail unit, hotel, a visitor centre which is the home for Scott's historic vessel - RRS Discovery - and 200,000 sq ft of offices.

The scheme has been successful in attracting high quality new jobs to Dundee and it is estimated that over 1,000 people are now employed within Discovery Quay. The final phase, comprising three office buildings totalling some 59,000 sq ft is 90% pre-let and sold for £16.5 m.

Following the recent completion of these buildings, one suite within 1 Greenmarket is now available to let via the joint letting agents - Knight Frank in Glasgow and Scottish Enterprise Tayside, albeit this is now under offer. This suite comprises a ground floor totalling 6,000 sq ft, providing high quality, modern open plan accommodation with 13 dedicated car parking spaces.

The suite enjoys a strategic location, being located adjacent to the city centre and the main railway station.

Michael Smart, Regional Director of HBG Properties, Discovery Quay Developments Ltd: "Our commitment to Dundee has resulted in the successful letting of some 53,000 sq ft in the past year. The quality of the developed office accommodation is reflected in the pre lettings achieved and the fact that the remaining suite is now under offer".

Hibs purchase land for new training centre in East Lothian

Hibernian FC, advised by Rettie & Co's Rural department, has secured 36 acres of farmland in East Lothian to develop a new training ground. The site, to be known as the East Mains Training Centre, is near Tranent, East Lothian.

The sum agreed by the Club and the vendors is £636,000 and the purchase is subject to the Club receiving planning permission.

The Club hopes to submit a planning application in the next few weeks, and with that process expected to take 4-6 months, it is hoped that facilities could be available for pre-season training in 2007.

The sale includes buildings totaling 2,800 sq metres that can be converted into the required accommodation as well as existing infrastructure and car parking. A further 21 acres of attendant land were purchased at a cost of £64,000.

The announcement follows several months of careful negotiations between the Club and the landowners by Chris Hall, director of Rettie & Co's Rural team. The site was sourced privately by Rettie & Co as fulfilling the brief provided by Hibernian FC.

Chris Hall commented: "This is an excellent deal for all parties concerned and one which demonstrates our market awareness and active search ability on behalf of our clients."

Kier Group signs contract on £97m PFI schools deal in Oldham

Kier Group, in partnership with Dexia Public Finance Bank, has now reached financial close on its PFI bid to provide two new schools for Oldham Borough Council, with a net present value of £97m. Both schools are scheduled to open in February 2008.

The Kier project team comprises PFI specialist Kier Project Investment and facilities management subsidiary Kier Managed Services as service provider for the 25-year term. Construction of the new schools, to replace the existing Failsworth and The Radclyffe secondary schools, will be carried out by Kier Build and Kier North West under a £54.4m construction contract.

Kier Group chief executive John Dodds commented: "We are delighted that contracts have now been signed with Oldham Council and look forward to working closely with them to deliver these new schools as part of the Government's national education initiative."

Brixton buys Circle South Industrial Estate in Manchester for £9.75m

Brixton plc has bought the Circle South Industrial Estate at Wharfside Way, Trafford Park, Manchester for £9.75m from Liverpool Victoria Life Company.

The 112,500 sq ft estate which was completed in 1998 comprises six units ranging from 8,500 sq ft to 48,000 sq ft let to tenants including Daytona Manchester, West Pennine Trucks and Nestle Watercoolers at a total rent roll of £588,680pa. The purchase shows a net initial yield of 5.7%, an equivalent yield of 5.9% and a reversionary yield of 6.0%.

The estate is at the heart of Brixton's existing holdings at Trafford Park, near Old Trafford, where the company now owns more than 2.8m sq ft of industrial and warehouse space.

Tim Wheeler, Brixton's Chief Executive, commented: "Following our recent disposals, our one core holding outside the South East is Manchester. This property is a natural addition to our Trafford Park ownerships and we are pleased to have been successful in its acquisition".

Thursday, May 25, 2023

GVA Grimley announce 22% increase in profits

GVA Grimley has reported a strong performance for the 2005/2006 financial year, with significantly increased profits across all areas of the business, including double digit growth in all its offices.

Highlights of the partnership's 2005/2006 results include:

-£114m UK turnover, representing an increase of 22% on previous year

-Total Profits increased on previous year to £26 million after charging staff bonus

-Staff bonus pool increased by 65% on previous year, from £9million to £15 million

The past year has also seen a number of strategic mergers by GVA Grimley as part of the firm's continued expansion. Merger highlights for 2005/2006 include:

-The merger of Lamb & Edge property advisers in Newcastle to form the largest practice in the North East;

-Building surveyors Wright & Co to expand Scottish building consultancy team;

-Mappin Planning & Development to expand Scottish planning and regeneration team

Chief Executive Bob Barnett said: "We have enjoyed another tremendous year, building on the continuing success of previous years and establishing the business as one of the industry's best performing and most successful property advisers."

We are continuing to build the business by investing in our teams through our training and development schemes as well as by having the very best and most experienced people in the professional property market working for our clients."

Investment in GVA Grimley's National Business teams continues apace, with further expansion in the City with a requirement of 10,000 sq ft of new office space, and the opening of new offices in Liverpool and Ireland as well as expansion of current premises in Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff and Leeds.

CBRE Investors acquires industrial estate in Tannochside Park, Glasgow for £5m

Strutt and Parker, on behalf of CB Richard Ellis Investors, have advised on the off-market purchase of The Apex, Tannochside Park, Glasgow, from Lehman Brothers for £5m, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.59%.

The industrial estate comprises seven units totalling 75,229 sq ft and currently generates a rental income of £348,375 per annum, equating to £4.63 per sq ft with an average of 11.5 years remaining on each lease. The estate is let to 6 tenants with a vacant unit benefiting from a vendors 12 month rental guarantee.

James Fairweather, of Strutt & Parker's National Investment Agency, said "This type of investment proved ideal for CB Richard Ellis Investors? requirements. The industrial investment market has continued to improve over recent months and I believe this investment shall benefit from further rental and capital growth over the coming months."

Michael Elliot and Partners acted for Lehman Brothers.

New Alliance boosts property industry cooperation

Four leading property bodies have formed an alliance to tackle major property issues in a more co-ordinated way while retaining their separate identities and roles.

The formation of the Property Alliance will give the commercial property sector a stronger voice on issues where greater coherence can make a difference. It builds on the recent REITs campaign which demonstrated the success that can be achieved when organisations collaborate.

The four members of the Property Alliance are the British Council for Offices (BCO), British Property Federation (BPF), Investment Property Forum (IPF) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Among its first actions the Property Alliance has agreed to set up a pan-industry research group to improve coordination of research programmes across the sector and maximise the impact and reach of that research. The Alliance will also be undertaking work designed to examine levels of satisfaction among commercial property tenants.

Sir David Clementi, Chairman of Prudential plc and Chair of the Property Alliance, said: "I am delighted to be chairing the Property Alliance. I know just how crucial an efficient and dynamic commercial property sector is to the performance of the whole economy. Presenting the industry's case effectively and maximising the value of the work carried out by its representative bodies demands a high level of cooperation between its leading players. I recognise that a good deal of cooperation already takes place but I believe that the Property Alliance has the potential to plug some of the gaps that exist."

Halladale Group to Raise £30 Million for Expansion

Halladale Group plc ("Halladale"), the UK property co-investment, trading and development company, today announces it has agreed, subject to conditions including shareholder approval, to raise approximately £30 million, before expenses, by way of a Placing and Subscription of New Ordinary shares, a Placing of £5 million Loan Stock and £10 million Subscription of Loan Stock to provide additional working capital for expansion purposes.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Balfour Beatty awarded extensions to two road maintenance contracts worth £170m

Balfour Beatty has announced today that its road management and maintenance company, RCS, has been awarded extensions to two of its long-term local authority road maintenance contracts, adding £170m to its forward order book.

The highways maintenance contract for North Yorkshire County Council, which was awarded in January 2002, has been extended by four years from 2008 to 2012. The extension will be worth approximately £140m and covers almost 8,000 kilometres of country roads and over 1,500 bridges. The scope of the contract covers carriageway and footway maintenance, winter maintenance, street lighting and emergency response.

In Hampshire, the extension of the contract, which began in 2002, is for one year to 2008 and is worth approximately £30m. It covers the maintenance of county roads and covers a similar scope of work to the north Yorkshire contract.

In both cases, the original contracts were won on the basis of quality and price in approximately equal proportions.

Commenting on the awards today, Balfour Beatty Chief Executive, Ian Tyler said: "These contract extensions represent a strong endorsement of our processes and performance in road management and maintenance, and reflect great credit on our teams and their ability to work with our customers and respond to their needs."

RCS now has a forward order book of over £900m and with annual sales of approximately £230m is one of the top three road management and maintenance companies in the UK.

RCS is also responsible for the management and maintenance of motorways and trunk roads across Southern England from the Kent coast to the West Country in Highways Agency Areas 2, 3 and 4. It has other local authority contracts in Westminster, Wokingham and Surrey and maintains Balfour Beatty's PFI road concessions in Devon and Dorset, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and the West of Scotland.

Keppie Design wins £284m Scottish hospital bid

NHS Forth Valley have selected the consortium led by Equion as preferred bidder for the New Acute Hospital for Forth Valley PPP project.

The 814 bed hospital will provide world class facilities, and will replace existing hospitals at Stirling and Falkirk as part of an integrated strategy for delivery of healthcare services across central Scotland.

Speaking after the announcement, Graham McCorkindale, Keppie Director responsible for the project, highlighted the collaborative working relationship with Equion, Laing O'Rourke, Serco, and the rest of the design team as a key factor in the success. 'This has been a fantastic team effort', he said, ' and we are all excited at the opportunity it provides to realise innovative ideas in relation to healthcare design.'

Keppie Chairman Peter Scott commented: 'This is a tremendous recognition of the people in the practice, especially given the quality of the competition. It enhances our considerable healthcare and PPP reputation, and allows us to continue the development of the practice throughout the UK.

UK office market rental surge overhauls retail property

The surge in UK office market rental growth overtook retail property in the first three months of 2006, for the first time since at least 2001, the new Quarterly Index from global real estate performance benchmarker, Investment Property Databank shows.

"Offices were the best performing sector of the UK property market in the first quarter, with faster rental growth than in the retail sector," IPD research manager Dominic Smith said.

"Total investment returns (capital growth plus rental income) on all UK commercial property were a very respectable 4.5% between the end of December and the end of March - the fourth highest level in the history of the quarterly index to the start of 2001."

The FTSE all-share index returned 8.1% and government gilts produced a negative return of -1.1% over the same period.

IPD's UK Quarterly Index, launched this month, reflects the performance of 7,214 properties valued at nearly £100 billion in 173 separate funds and is intended to supersede the annual index, in place since 1986, as the standard industry record of returns within the next year or so.

IPD has also developed a new series of in-depth reports on its monthly and quarterly UK indices. These 'Impulse' reports make available to the broad investment community sophisticated analysis of IPD's data, that was previously only accessible to a select group of subscribers.

In the latest Impulse analysis for the Quarterly Index, author Dominic Smith highlights the increasing disconnect between UK property yields (rent as a proportion of capital value) and the yield on UK government gilts.

The theoretical 'Plimsoll Line' for the risk premium of property over gilts is 2%, below which bricks and mortar are traditionally viewed as being overpriced. The all-property equivalent yield fell to 5.72% at the end of the first quarter from 5.88% at the end of the fourth quarter of 2005, while the FTSE 5-15 year gilt yield rose to 4.32% from 4.09% over the same period. This reflects the weight of investment money chasing property.

On the other hand, this narrowing in the yield gap to 140 basis points could be interpreted as a rational response to an improving property occupier market.

For the second successive quarter, offices were the best-performing property sector between January and March this year, with total investment returns of 5.4%, compared with 4.2% for retail and 4.1% for industrial real estate.

Once again, London's West End topped performance in the office segment, with total returns of 7.3% in the first three months of 2006, only slightly below the 7.6% posted in the fourth quarter of 2005 and the third highest quarter achieved by any property segment in the history of IPD?s Quarterly Index.

There was considerable divergence in the performance of various types of UK retail property in the last quarter with shopping centres within towns returning 4.4%, or four times as much as out-of-town shopping centres at just 1.1%.

Fashion parks were the star performer of the retail warehouse segment with total returns of 5.9% exceeding those of retail parks and 'solus' (single) units at 3.9% and 4.2% respectively.

The best returns to be had in the retail market, however, were delivered by supermarkets at 8.0% in the first quarter. Previously a relatively insignificant segment in the IPD database, the supermarkets sample was boosted to £2.0 billion in the Quarterly Index by a wave of sale-and-leaseback deals.

Esk Properties £6m plan for Livingston town centre

Following their recent hotel and restaurant success at Livingston Hub, Esk Properties, an Edinburgh-based developer, has announced plans to develop a £6million retail scheme in Livingston town centre.

The developer has submitted a planning application to West Lothian Council for a 1,160 sq m (12,500 sq ft) retail development. The plans include scope for full mezzanine cover and 42 car spaces at The Parkway. The new development will be built on the site of the former Safeway petrol filling station adjacent to the Almondvale Shopping Centre and McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Centre. The development should be available for occupation in Spring 2007.

Esk Properties Managing Director, Grant Aitken, said: "We have consulted for some time with West Lothian Council officials to ensure the proposals meet with their design requirements for the site and we hope to start on site this summer."

Ryden has been appointed as the letting agent and John Conroy of the firm's Glasgow office confirmed Ryden was already in detailed discussions with a number of national operators with requirements between 94 sq m (1,000 sq ft) and 279 sq m (3,000 sq ft). John said: "This is a superb site for roadside retailers who are keen for high profile representation in the highly successful Livingston market and we expect the development to be fully let upon completion'.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Clear Image appoint new regional manager for Scotland

Due to continued success north of the border Clear Image, a fire and security solutions provider, have announced the appointment of Neil Alexander in the role of Regional Manager Scotland.

Neil brings with him nearly 10 years industry specific experience having worked throughout Scotland. In recent years Clear Image has expanded their customer base in Scotland to such a size that it became apparent that a local Management structure is required.

Looking forward, Clear Image plan to give more focus to Scotland and grow the business organically, utilising the same work ethics and excellent customer service that have seen the rapid expansion of the business since humble beginnings in 1997.

When asked for comment Neil said "With the company focus on customer service and the real sense of being a security partner, Clear Image are now in a position to offer a real alternative within the Scottish Security marketplace to the usual suspects. I am relishing the challenge and believe that, being one of the few independent national companies, we can offer a completely unbiased consultative service ensuring that our customers truly have the right company and equipment for the job."

Clear Image is a dynamic integrated fire and security solutions provider specialising in the installation, service and maintenance of a range of electronic and physical fire and security solutions including: Intruder Alarms, CCTV, Remote Monitoring, Perimeter and Fire Protection, Access Control, Asset Protection & Personnel Tracking systems.

Contact Clear Image on 0800 731 0335 or at

New Look and Clarks due to take leases at Craigleith Retail Park, Edinburgh

Henderson Global Investors has announced that fashion retailers New Look and Clarks are taking units at The Quarry, Craigleith Retail Park in Blackhall, Edinburgh.

New Look will take a unit of 10,000 sq ft and will pay £37.50 per sq ft (£404 per sq m) on a 15 year lease. Clarks will take a unit of 3,500 sq ft (325 sq m), paying £42.40 per sq ft (£458 per sq m) on a 15 year lease.

Both are taking new units, leaving just 5,000 sq ft (465 sq m) of space to let at the new development. These lettings follow Arcadia and Next taking 15,000 sq ft (1,394 sq m) and 12,000 sq ft (1,115 sq m) units respectively in late 2005.

Furthermore, Arcadia is now up and trading at the retail park and offers four brands to customers: Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Wallis.

Andrew Friend, head of the retail warehousing fund at Henderson Global Investors, says: "We have just one of the new units remaining at The Quarry and we are currently assessing opportunities within the existing park for new names going forwards."

Mike Spens, director at joint letting agent Savills, says: "Interest is high on the last remaining unit at The Quarry and we expect to announce a deal in the near future."

Culverwell is acting as joint agent with Savills at The Quarry.

Expanding Whelan strengthens board with new financial director

Whelan Construction Development one of the northeast's leading and most innovative construction firms has expanded its board of directors with the addition of the newly created role of Financial Director.

The Newcastle based company, which is experiencing a period of phenomenal growth, on the back of its solid reputation and strategic development plan that was implemented in 2005, has created a new position in a strategic move to further enable the company to grow.

Having secured a 50% order increase for 2006, four years ahead of schedule, Whelan promptly identified the need to expand its board of directors, with the addition of a new Financial Director to drive the company forward.

Colin Wilson, 37yrs of Gateshead will take to the helm, bringing with him over 15 years of management experience in the northeast business sector, and significant knowledge in company development and resource management. Colin, a qualified Management Accountant, will complement and strengthen the board to take the company to its next level.

IPD reports UK commercial property returns 1.4% in April

IPD has reported that the total return on UK commercial property was 1.4% in April 2006, adding to the first quarter's strong 4.4% return. Still, April's figure slipped slightly when compared with March's all property total return of 2%.

This performance propelled property ahead of both equities and gilts over 30 days, although property slips to second place against equities when measured from the start of the year. Equities in April earned investors 1.1% while gilts returned -1.2%. Since the start of the year, property has earned investors 6%, Equities 9.2% and bonds -2.2%.

Capital value growth for commercial property during April was 1.0%, down from 1.6% in March. It was again fuelled by a downward shift in yields. In April, the all property equivalent yield fell by 5 basis points on a consistent sample basis. Meanwhile, all property rental values rose modestly, increasing by 0.2% in April.

The office sector continued to out-perform the other sectors for the fourth consecutive month, with a total return of 1.8% in April, down from March's 2.5%. Industrials overtook retails, returning 1.5%, albeit down from 1.7% a month earlier, while retails earned investors 1.3%, down from 1.9% in March. All three sectors saw equivalent yields fall on a consistent sample basis last month; offices by 7 basis points, followed by retail and industrials with declines of 5 basis points.

Co-founder of IPD, Dr Ian Cullen said: "The market is still being driven forward by yield compression, to the point where there is now virtually no margin between spot yields on property and those on gilts 4.9% versus 4.6%. Exciting times"

RREEF sells Park 66, Bury, Manchester for £12.8m

RREEF, advised by Savills, has sold the freehold interest in Park 66, Bury, Manchester to a private client of Goldenberg & Co for £12.8m, representing an equivalent yield of 5.71%.

The 51,148 sq ft consists of a 30-lane bowling alley with three standalone restaurants, trading as Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito Ltd and Pizza Hut. The annual passing rent is £762,981 pa. The park lies adjacent to a scheme including Asda, MacDonalds and Travelodge.

Andrew McGregor of Savills leisure says: "The strong interest in this investment reflects the performance of the park itself as well as the entire leisure sector."

Senior Appointments to Drive Growth at RLF in Scotland

Construction and property consultancy RLF has marked a further year of rapid growth in Scotland by announcing a number of senior appointments and announcing a clutch of new project wins with a capital value of more than £250m.

Dorothy Robertson, who is based in the firm's Glasgow office, has been appointed Partner effective from 1st June, and Ron Smith, also based in Glasgow, has joined as an Associate. Dorothy Robertson, who has been with the company for over 10 years will play a substantial role in business management as well as continuing to work with key clients of the firm. Ron Smith, who joined from E C Harris brings with him considerable specialist technical expertise in quantity surveying in both public and private sectors.

RLF, which recently opened a new office in Edinburgh, has seen turnover in Scotland double during the last year and combined with projected growth in both centres, anticipates tripling the size of the business within the next three years.

The new appointments will help to drive RLF's growth strategy in Scotland, and the firm is also actively recruiting for Quantity Surveyors, Project Managers and Building Surveyors at all levels across the business.

Recent project wins include school redevelopment plans for Glasgow, Dundee and Lothian Councils; station redevelopment project for Cowlairs, the construction of a learning disability centre in South Lanarkshire; new office developments in Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh and a major new leisure development near Edinburgh.

"It has been a year of good progress for RLF in Scotland" said Managing Partner in Scotland, David Thomson.

"I am delighted that Dorothy has been promoted to Partner and Ron has joined as Associate. They are key members of our expanding team and will play a central role in the future development of the business.

"The market in Scotland is highly competitive but there is clearly a demand for an entrepreneurial firm such as RLF who are able to provide a regional service to clients that is backed by national strength and expertise."

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Gateshead Council receives award for consideration

Gateshead Council's Local Environmental Services has been presented with a national award for being a Considerate Constructor.

The Council's building and construction arm was presented with a Bronze award from the Considerate Constructors Scheme at a prestigious awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

An independent panel of judges had decided to give the award to Gateshead Council in recognition of its work on the school's new sports hall at Ryton Comprehensive School. The judges felt that the site had complied with the highest standards under the Code of Considerate Practice set by the scheme.

Only 7.5% of the sites inspected by the scheme's judges are presented with awards

John Robinson, Group Director, Local Environmental Services, said: "I am delighted for everyone who worked on the Ryton sports hall site - it's down to their efforts that we have won this award.

"Construction is, by its very nature, a noisy and messy business and its very easy to cause problems for people living and working nearby. Being a considerate constructor means taking time to think about how what we do affects whole community, then taking steps to minimise the problems.

He added: "I am especially pleased that the team who constructed the Ryton Sports Hall not only carried out a superb job but have been rewarded for the way they did it."

The Considerate Constructors Scheme is a national initiative designed to improve the image of the construction industry through better management and presentation of its sites. It aims to raise the standards of construction and management above statutory requirements.

The Code commits those contractors in the Scheme to be Considerate and Good Neighbours, as well as Clean, Respectful, Safe, Environmentally conscious, Responsible and Accountable.

Gateshead Council has had a number of projects registered with the Considerate Constructors scheme during the past 5 years and this Bronze Award was the second award it has received. Gateshead Council's Local Environmental Services were awarded a silver award for its construction of Whickham Comprehensive School's dance studio.

Invesco Real Estate buys Birmingham Business Park for £16.87m

Invesco Real Estate has acquired "Park Square" which comprises of four office buildings at Birmingham Business Park for £16.87m on behalf of one of its European Property Funds. The 67,294 sq ft buildings are entirely let to show a net initial yield of 7.2% and the vendor was Arlington Property Investors on behalf of Barclays Nominees (George Yard) Ltd.

Rob Johnston, Head of UK Transactions at INVESCO Real Estate said, "The acquisition further demonstrates the demand from our clients for UK real estate. There remains continued enthusiasm from a number of our funds for office buildings in prime locations in London and the South East and in major cities throughout the UK."

YES! project moves one step closer in South Yorkshire

Oak Holdings, the AIM-listed developer behind the YES! project, the £300m entertainment destination planned for South Yorkshire, has been notified that it is on course to receive planning permission.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council's planning board has resolved to support the application, subject to the completion of a legal agreement, and to referral to the Government Office. The development would transform 320 acres (130 hectares) of former coalfield land next to Rother Country Valley Park.

Steve Lewis, chief executive of Oak Holdings, says: "We are delighted to receive this positive step forwards for the YES! project. As well as strengthening the tourism offer available in South Yorkshire, the scheme will produce over 2,700 jobs in line with the ODPM's Northern Way initiative."

YES! will feature various sporting and leisure facilities including an Olympic standard canoe slalom, extreme sports, a live music venue and many other attractions.

Oak is working on the YES! project in joint venture with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, having been appointed preferred developer in 2003.

Ryden to manage Amazon property in Glenrothes

West Bow Properties has appointed Ryden to manage its 360,450 sq ft property in Glenrothes Business Park, Fife. The property is occupied by Amazon.

Ryden is employed mainly in an advisory capacity and will undertake service charge budgeting, reconciliation and contract administration from the Edinburgh office. Susan Cameron is Contract Manager for this appointment. She said: "We are pleased to gain a further instruction in Fife, and to grow our business by taking on an increasing number of good quality management instructions such as this one."

The instruction was referred from Ryden's industrial team, which secured the accommodation for Amazon in 2005. Amazon will shortly become the only tenant at this property, the former ADC factory, and 42,201 sq ft of office space remains available for let.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Kilpatrick Property Group acquires Atlantic Chambers, Glasgow for £2.75m

Glasgow-based Kilpatrick Property Group has acquired Atlantic Chambers, 45 Hope Street/1A Cadogan Street, Glasgow, for £2.75m from London & Oriental.

The property, which comprises two ground-floor retail units totalling 4,000sq ft and 20,000sq ft of office space over seven floors, currently produces a rent of £195,000 per annum. Two office suites and one of the retail units are presently vacant which, once occupied, would bring the full annual rental value to an estimated £250,000. The purchase price represents a net initial yield of 6.7%, rising to 8.6% on the letting of the vacant accommodation.

Maurice Glen, Chief Executive of Kilpatrick Property Group said: "The Company is extremely pleased to have acquired this property on a virtually off-market basis. The building offers a number of asset management opportunities which can be implemented over the course of the next two to three years.

"This acquisition demonstrates Kilpatrick's appetite for mixed-use city centre properties to complement its already substantial holdings within high streets throughout Scotland and the north of England. This, together with other acquisitions presently in the pipeline, provides the Group with an excellent start to its new financial year".

Kilpatrick Property Group was advised in the acquisition by Knight Frank.

Monsoon joins host of new retailers at Frenchgate, Doncaster

Lunson Mitchenall has signed Monsoon to Scarborough Development Group's Frenchgate, the £250m 750,000 sq ft, plus 1,400 car parking spaces, shopping centre development in central Doncaster which is set to open in June this year.

Monsoon will take 6,676 sq ft (620 sq m) at a rent of £270,000 pax. The scheme, which is 80 % let, is set to transform Doncaster's retail offer and will be anchored by a 105,000 sq ft (9,290 sq m) Debenhams store while Next will trade from a 22,000 sq ft (1,860 sq m) unit.

On completion, Frenchgate will provide 350,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m) of new shops on two floors plus a new 1,400 space multi-storey car park, raising the retail ranking position of Doncaster from 51 to 21 in the UK in terms of shopping offer according to independent research.

Other recent signings include HMV, Dorothy Perkins, Beaverbrooks, Ottakars, Hennes, Top Man/Top Shop, Republic Quiz, C&J; Clarks, Wallis, USC, GAME, Faith, KFC, Greggs and the Perfume Shop. Deals with a number of other high profile retailers are very close to exchange.

Rob Wingrave, Director at Lunson Mitchenall, says; "We are delighted to have secured excellent retailers to the scheme which is set to become one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. Doncaster's retail offer will be completely transformed by Frenchgate generating a high concentration of multiple retailers and a new prime pitch for the city".

David Wells, Director of Scarborough Development Group, comments: "Frenchgate is the only town centre regeneration scheme opening in Yorkshire this year. The opening on the 8th June will mark many years of hard work for the team, as well as a substantial new retail offer for people in the Yorkshire region."

Frenchgate is being developed by Scarborough Development Group and includes a Private Finance Initiative in relation to the new bus station. The scheme was recently purchased by a private Irish consortium, advised by Lunson Mitchenall and BTW. Lunson Mitchenall and Fawley Watson Booth are letting agents.

Savills April data signals a further sharp expansion of commercial development activity

The Savills Commercial Development PMI® survey for April indicated a further sharp rise in total activity, albeit at a slightly weaker pace than in March. UK commercial property developers pointed to a marked expansion of both public and private sector projects in April.

The latest increase in commercial construction projects was broad-based across the nine areas of development that were monitored. Private sector office activity recorded the strongest rate of expansion in April.

Commercial developers continued to report a strong degree of business confidence in April. The highest level of optimism was for office construction activity in the coming three months.

Commenting on the survey, Mat Oakley, head of Savills' Commercial Research department said: "While the continued high levels of development activity in the office sector come as no surprise, the fact that retail and leisure development activity hit its highest level since March 2004 is interesting. Evidently many developers expect the current low levels of consumer confidence and spending to improve over the next three months."

Key findings for April 2006:

-At 60.9 in April, down from 64.2 in March, the Total Commercial Activity Index signalled a further sharp expansion of UK commercial development. More than one-quarter of survey respondents indicated a rise in activity, compared to less than 5% that signalled a decline.

-Private sector commercial development increased at a sharper rate than the public sector equivalents. Growth of overall activity weakened slightly in both sectors, but remained well above their respective long-term averages.

-Commercial property developers operating outside of London and the South East reported the strongest growth of the three UK regions monitored in April. Higher levels of activity were recorded throughout the UK, although the rates of growth eased from the previous month.

-All nine broad areas of development monitored in April recorded a rise in activity. Panel members indicated that the sharpest rate of expansion was in private sector office projects.

-Survey respondents remained highly confident that commercial development activity will rise in the next three months. However, the degree of business confidence in each area that was monitored in April was less marked than the average over the previous quarter.

-Anecdotal evidence indicated that recent improvements in market demand and new business had supported the strong degree of positive sentiment regarding the three-month outlook.

CBRE appointed to boost Aberdeen's Academy Centre

Aberdeen's one-stop retail centre, The Academy Centre, is set for a revival, following the appointment of leading commercial property agents CB Richard Ellis as letting agent.

The Academy Centre changed hands in December 2005 when Royal London Asset Management bought it from Kenmore for £16 million.

CB Richard Ellis acted on behalf of Royal London and has now also been appointed as sole letting agent for the 70,000 sq ft centre, in the heart of Aberdeen's shopping district.

The Academy Centre currently offers a mix of boutique clothing shops and retail outlets, including high street favourites French Connection, Costa and the Hog's Head bar.

CB Richard Ellis will work to attract more household names to the popular shopping destination.

Promotions at Malcolm Hollis LLP

Malcolm Hollis LLP have announced the following promotions:

Christopher Sullivan to Partner, Christopher joined Malcolm Hollis in 1999 and moved to Birmingham in 2004 to open Malcolm Hollis' sixth office. He specialises in neighbourly issues and dilapidations.

Also promoted are:

James Audsley Senior Chartered Building Surveyor (Manchester office)
Mark Hampson Senior Chartered Building Surveyor (London office)
Rachael Johnstone Senior Chartered Building Surveyor (Birmingham Office)

Easter commences work on 155,000 sq ft at Deeside Point, Wales.

Work has started at Easter's 12-acre site on Deeside Point, Deeside Industrial Estate. The scheme is due to complete in January 2007.

Deeside Point will comprise nine units totalling 155,000 sq ft, ranging from 4,500 to 35,500 sq ft, on virtually the final development at the successful 300-acre Deeside Industrial Estate in North Wales.

The pre-sale of the first three units to local investor District Estates completed on 27th April. The units will be 25,000 sq ft, 16,000 sq ft and 13,000 sq ft.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Property Executive Awards for Excellence 2006 in Scotland

There's now less than a month to make nominations for the Property Executive Awards for Excellence 2006 in Scotland. The closing date for nominations is the 9th of June, visit the awards page to make your nomination. Please also note that nominations for the awards in the North of England close on the 31st of July and nominations can be made on the same page.

Categories for all nominations are as follows -

Office Award for Excellence
Industrial Award for Excellence
Retail Award for Excellence
Residential Award for Excellence
Mixed Use Award for Excellence
Regeneration Award for Excellence
Investment Award for Excellence
Law Practice Award for Excellence
Personality Award for Excellence
Property Agency Award for Excellence
Architectural Practice Award for Excellence

Visit the awards page to make your nomination

F&C; buys Edinburgh and Bristol offices for £56.35m

F&C; Property Asset Management, on behalf of Friends Provident Life Insurance Limited Commercial Fund, has acquired two prime UK regional office buildings for a total of £56.35m.

F&C; has acquired Edinburgh 1, 60 Morrison Street, Edinburgh from Matrix Securities for £29.75m, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.15%. The 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m) office building is let to Scottish Widows plc at a rent of £29 per sq ft (£312 per sq m), on a lease expiring in 2021. Edinburgh 1 is opposite Scottish Widows' national HQ building.

Templepoint, Redcliffe Way, Bristol has been purchased from UK & European Investments Ltd for £26.6m, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.18%. The 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m) office building is let to Orange at a rent of £19 per sq ft (£205 per sq m) on a lease expiring in 2021.

Daniel Plummer, F&C; Property's Head of Regional Offices, comments: "While demand for city centre office space remains strong, there are relatively limited levels of new accommodation coming through in key locations. Both Edinburgh 1 and Templepoint Bristol fulfil our requirement for well let, prime offices in major UK cities and we expect these buildings to be important long term assets for the FPLAL Commercial Fund."

CBRE acted for F&C; Property on the purchase of Edinburgh 1. King Sturge advised F&C; Property on the purchase of Templepoint, Bristol. Hartnell Taylor Cook advised the vendor on the purchase of Templepoint.

Colliers CRE Boost Partnering and Consultancy Team

Colliers CRE has appointed Donald Meldrum as an associate director to its specialist partnering & consultancy division in Edinburgh.

Donald joins from the Scottish Executive where he worked for four years providing property advice at an executive level to all departments, agencies and public sector organisations. He also contributed to the formulation of both policy advice and legislative issues. Prior to this he was a valuer for the Ayrshire Valuation Joint Board for 13 years.

Commenting on his appointment, Colin Knott of Colliers CRE's partnering & consultancy division said: "We are delighted that Donald has joined us. His knowledge of the public sector is second to none and he will prove invaluable to the team as we expand the services we offer to our clients."

The partnering & consultancy division advises on issues from compliance with government guidance, policy, legislation and efficiency programmes, to all matters relating to strategic estate management including acquisitions, disposals, valuations and integrated property strategies.

Dunfermline Building Society in social housing deals

Dunfermline Building Society has secured two further social housing deals totalling almost £40 million, including its largest-ever loan to a single organisation. Dumfermline, established in 1869, was the first Scottish lender to enter the market for lending on social housing.

In the first deal, the society has agreed a loan to Dunedin Canmore Housing Association, in a syndicate with Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB. Each lender has put forward £30m. The second deal is for £8.3m to New Gorbals Housing Association in Glasgow.

The DCHA's programme of regeneration includes Oxgangs and Hyvots Moredun, alongside a planned new build and acquisition of around 300 homes per year. The deals take Dunfermline's total commitment for 2006 to about £60m from 11 projects. Last year it committed just under £100m.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Olympic Delivery Authority moves to safeguard land

The Olympic Delivery Authority has acted to safeguard land needed for part of the Olympic Village at Stratford, east London. The ODA has acquired the freehold to the Stratford City project, the £4bn redevelopment scheme which has been the subject of an acrimonious wrangle between its three erstwhile developers. The ODA acquired the freehold from English Partnerships, the country's regeneration agency.

The Authority said the move meant that if the developers failed to resolve their difference it would also acquire their development rights and landowner London & Continental Railway's (LCR) long leases on the part of the land needed for the Olympics Village.

ODA chief executive David Higgins said: "If for any reason progress on the facilities does not move forward, the safeguard is there to protect the interests of the Olympics."

Meanwhile, LCR has added a further twist to the saga of the Stratford City project by announcing moves to terminate its contract with the consortium set up to realise the redevelopment scheme, Stratford City Development Ltd (SCDL). The developers involved have been involved in a protracted wrangle over who has control of the development. Now the LCR has, in effect, said its patience has run out.

Termination of this agreement will ensure that progress can be maintained on the delivery of the first phase of Stratford City, known as Zone 1, and provision of the Stratford City Olympic facilities, including the village.

The consortium members had been trying to resolve the control issue by an auction. LCR's Stephen Jordan said: "This is decisive action required to safeguard Stratford City. We are no longer hopeful that the auction process could be brought to a successful conclusion." Jordan insisted that this decision "does not jeopardise the provision of Olympic facilities on Stratford City land."

Halladale unveils £74m London office deal

Scottish property investor and developer Halladale has unveiled a £74.1 million deal, marking its biggest ever single acquisition. The firm, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, has bought up 26/28 Hammersmith Grove in London's west end from Dunedin Property.

Halladale will manage the 205,000 square feet office complex, which it bought with co-investment partner Tyburn Lane Private Equity. The deal confirms Halladale's shift in focus from retail to offices, which now make up around 50 per cent of the firm's asset management and development programme, compared to less than ten per cent 18 months ago.

Hammersmith Grove consists of two buildings of office space with 326 car park spaces on a mix of lease lengths with tenants including MWB, Net Decisions, Air New Zealand and Vans.

Carter Jonas acquires offices for ARM in Sheffield

Carter Jonas' Leeds Office has successfully completed a search and negotiated terms for new office space on behalf of ARM for some 10,000 sq ft at Rockingham Court on Rockingham Street in the centre of Sheffield.

Carter Jonas acted for ARM when they negotiated a lease on 5,000 sq ft five years ago. ARM outgrew this space however and wanted to identify suitable modern office accommodation of around double the size within close proximity to their existing offices. Knight Frank's Sheffield office acted for the Landlord.

Next to occupy Aberdeen's Bon Accord Centre

The Scottish Retail Property Limited Partnership (SRPLP), the joint venture between The British Land Company PLC and Land Securities Group PLC, is delighted that high street retail giant Next has agreed to occupy a showpiece store as part of a major redevelopment of Aberdeen city centre.

The partnership's proposed £200 million multi-use development known as The Bon Accord Quarter will accommodate the new Next store at its upper trading level opposite the John Lewis entrance in The Bon Accord Centre. The new 55,000 square feet store will be the first phase of the project and is the cornerstone of the retail section of the city centre development.

The new store will have more than double the amount of retail space compared to its current location in the St Nicholas Centre and will provide Aberdeen's shoppers with a modern shop layout and further choice of clothing lines and accessories for the home. The current store in St Nicholas Centre has 10,000 square feet of trading space but when it moves to the shop in the Bon Accord Centre is will have 25,000 square feet of trading space. New jobs will also be created at the store although exact numbers are yet to be confirmed.

The initiative to redefine and rebuild major parts of the Bon Accord Quarter is expected to create 300 new jobs during construction and a further 500 after completion of the project in 2010. It will bring an additional 200,000 sq ft of new retail floor space to Aberdeen as well as a range of other city centre uses.

Monday, May 08, 2023

Swallow Hotels Acquire Balamory Hotel

An impressive hotel located in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, which is the setting for the children's TV programme, 'Balamory', has been sold through the Glasgow Office of leading international hotel agents, Christie + Co, on behalf of Paul and Vivien Thomson.

The Western Isles Hotel is set high up on a cliff and commands outstanding panoramic views of Tobermory Bay and is, without a doubt, set in one of the most impressive locations on the island. The hotel trades with 28 en suite letting bedrooms, a 50-cover dining room, a 50-cover conservatory/bar/restaurant and a 50-cover resident's lounge, which is ideal for Ceilidhs and wedding ceremonies.

There is the also the Kilorran Meeting Room, which can accommodate 30 and is ideal for small meetings, and a sun terrace, which is very popular during the warm summer months, as it allows guests to sit and look out over the bay. In addition to the main hotel, there is a separate staff block comprising of nine en suite bedrooms and a separate lounge.

The property was built in 1883 and over the years has enjoyed a chequered history, including a spell as an officer's mess during World War II. Under the previous ownership, it traded with a 3 Star accolade from Visit Scotland and the AA and due to its superb location; the hotel has traded successfully over the years and has grown in popularity, especially because of its association with the children's TV programme, 'Balamory'.

Tobermory was built as a fishing port in the late 18th Century and is now the main village on Mull and is renowned throughout the world for its brightly painted buildings surrounding the bay.

Graeme Smith, Associate Director, from Christie + Co's Glasgow Office, who handled the sale, commented; "The sale of the Western Isles Hotel attracted high levels of press attention, which in turn attracted a lot of prospective buyers to view the business. Due to the successful marketing campaign, with many sales details being sent out and many viewings taking place, interest was generated from all over the UK and the hotel was eventually sold to the ever expanding Swallow Hotels."

Offers in excess of £1.1 million were sought for the freehold interest of the Western Isles Hotel and it was sold for an undisclosed sum.

Kenmore Property Group's profits rise helped by Europe

Kenmore Property Group has announced interim profits of more than £10 million on the back of a major expansion in its portfolio.

In the six months to 31 January, the group made a profit of £10.08m, as the value of the portfolio it manages increased by more than £200m to £865m. The profit is around 85 per cent of Kenmore's total profit in 2005.

Kenmore said its European portfolio, which makes up around 40 per cent of its investment, was driving profit growth. Scandinavia became the biggest market outside the UK for the company during the period, with the acquisition of a new unit in Norway as part of its new HBOS European portfolio and a warehouse group in Sweden.

Later in the year the group will further strengthen its place in the region with an office in Stockholm, with plans for other offices in Germany and Dubai later in the year.

Allsop appoint new Senior Partner

Neil Mackilligin has taken over as Senior Partner of Allsop from Alan Collett on 1 May 2006. Neil Mackilligin joined Allsop as a Senior Surveyor in the Commercial Auction Department in April 1983. He became an Associate Partner of the firm in 1986 and an Equity Partner in January 1989, since which time he has jointly run the Commercial Auction Department. In 2001 Neil was appointed Managing Partner of the Commercial Board.

Neil will take over from Alan Collett who became Senior Partner in 1996 and is returning full time to Residential Investments. In addition to his role as Senior Partner, Neil will continue to advise his regular auction clients and have considerable involvement with the business development activities of the commercial auction department. Jon Gershinson, who heads up the Commercial Valuations team, will take over from Neil as Managing Partner of the Commercial Board.

Alan Collett commented "Neil has been an extremely valuable member of the firm over the past 20 years and I am delighted to welcome him as the new Senior Partner in this our 100th anniversary year. Over the last decade we have seen a period of unparalleled growth and during the last year have sold over £1bn of property at auction, transacted around £1bn in Central London and were involved in some of the largest residential investment deals. I am absolutely certain that Neil will continue to grow our business going forwards."

Friday, May 05, 2023

300 year old Aberdeen building gets a face lift

International property consultants Knight Frank, have just completed a stone survey on the second largest granite building in the world ahead of a major restoration project to bring the historic Marischal College in Aberdeen back to its former glory.

Aberdeen City Council commissioned a complete stone and asbestos survey of Marischal College, which is currently owned by Aberdeen University, to assess the gothic-style building for its new headquarters.

Knight Frank's Aberdeen Building Consultancy Department undertook all of the stone survey work and arranged a fully intrusive type three asbestos survey. A video survey was also arranged of all elevated and unreachable areas of the building such as the spires and towers.

The condition survey of the stonework which took a month to complete, reported on the building's condition, including all fixtures and mortar joints. The report quantifies all repairs into three categories; urgent repairs, repairs needed within one to three years and those over three years.

Founded in 1593 by the 5th Earl Marischal of Scotland, the historic building has been uninhabited for almost nine years and requires extensive restoration and refurbishment. The report concluded that the stonework is in good condition for its age but, as anticipated, some repairs would need to be made.

Following conclusion of negotiations with Aberdeen University, Aberdeen City Council will undertake the required repair works indicated in the survey. This will involve restoration of the impressive building and a complete refurbishment of the interior for office purposes.

Leeds to get Europe's tallest building

Plans are underway to construct a new skyscraper in the northern England city of Leeds that will officially be Europe's tallest building. The Lumiere Tower 1 will cost £225m to build and, at a height of 52 storeys and 170.88 metres, it will surpass Beetham Tower over in Manchester by two metres as the tallest building in Europe.

It is expected that the sksyscraper will be completed by 2010 and contain 650 apartments, many of which will be designed specifically for people aged over 55, as well as office space, a dentist, shops and cafes. The project will also see the construction of a smaller tower, 30 storeys high, on the same site, which will be linked to the first tower by a sheltered winter garden.

It is to be carried out jointly by construction firms KW Linfoot and Scarborough Development Group, who specialise in residential and commercial projects respectively and work on the site will begin in October, pending council approval.

Knight Frank poised for major expansion drive in China

Knight Frank LLP, the independent global property consultancy, announced that it has strengthened its Asia Pacific presence through the merger of its operations in China and Hong Kong with one of Hong Kong's leading valuation and professional consultancy firms to form Knight Frank Petty.

Knight Frank Petty incorporates the business formerly known as Chesterton Petty Ltd and Knight Frank's Hong Kong and China operations. The company will operate in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

The merged business will deliver a comprehensive range of property consultancy services and employ the greatest number of Chartered Surveyors of any firm in Hong Kong. It will employ over 450 staff in China.

The combined management teams will include Alan Child, chairman of Knight Frank Petty and Colin Fitzgerald, managing director Asia Pacific.

Knight Frank Petty has taken 27,000 sq ft on the fourth and part third floor at Shui On Centre, Hong Kong for its new head office. Following a full refurbishment, the company will relocate in June 2006.

DJ Scotland Appoint New Head of Management

Following on from its recent accolade as one of the top companies to work for in the UK, Drivers Jonas Scotland has further strengthened its personnel with the appointment of Lorraine Wilkie as an Associate Partner and Head of Management for Drivers Jonas in Scotland.

With over six years experience of property management, Lorraine joins Drivers Jonas Scotland from Reith Lambert where she gained considerable knowledge of shopping centre management, retail management and office and industrial management.

Lorraine's remit within Drivers Jonas Scotland will include leading the property management team and managing a wide ranging property portfolio. Lorraine will also be responsible for expanding and developing Drivers Jonas' Property Management services throughout Scotland.

Alasdair Ramsay, Head of Drivers Jonas in Scotland, said: "We are seriously committed to providing the highest level of service from a very knowledgeable team and Lorraine's wealth of experience adds even more to our promise of delivering a one-stop commercial property consultancy."

Miller Developments sells Minerva House, Reading for £12.1m

Miller Developments has sold Minerva House, Valpy Street, Reading to Gresham II via Schroders for £12.1m.

The building comprises 60,000 sq ft of office space and a crèche and was sold complete with its long ground lease to Reading Council. The property is let to AXA on a lease until 2008, and has a number of sub-tenants, with a rent roll of £870,750 pa. The deal reflected a net initial yield of 6.8%.

Malcolm Deans, director of the office team at Miller Developments, comments: "We bought the property for £9.8m in 2004 and the high price achieved in the subsequent sale has given us a healthy profit margin. This deal represents the lack of quality stock in the market and the buoyant investment industry as a whole, with Reading in particular making a comeback. We will be looking to invest in similar products going forward."

King Sturge and Lambert Smith Hampton acted for Miller Developments. Jones Lang La Salle acted for the purchaser.

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Tesco Plan for 85,000 sq m Livingston Distribution Centre

An application for planning consent for a new Tesco distribution centre to be located on the site of the former NEC factory in Livingston has been lodged with West Lothian Council. This development would represent an investment of £75 million and employ 1,400 people including 200 new jobs.

Santon Group Developments Limited and Tesco Stores Limited in a joint venture with Rosemount Developments propose to construct a new distribution centre to serve all Tesco stores in Scotland from the site of the former NEC factory, which closed in 2002 and has recently been demolished.

Tesco estimate that by locating in Livingston its' lorries will travel 77,000 fewer miles each week - or 4 million fewer miles each year. Scottish suppliers will benefit too from being able to connect to the Tesco distribution network within Scotland.

The new distribution centre will extend to 85,000 square metres and house a separate recycling unit on the 51.5 hectare site. The building will handle a wide range of Tesco food products including chilled, frozen and dry groceries.

New bus stops will be provided on both sides of the A89 together with a new footway/cycleway along the front of the site. There will also be a footway/cycleway linking the south side A89 bus stop with the staff entrance.

NAI Fuller Peiser expands ratings team

NAI Fuller Peiser has expanded its rating team with the appointment of Alan Watson at Partner level at its head office in London. Alana former director at Evans & Payne, follows Peter Monckton-Milnes' recent relocation to London. Both have a wealth of experience in the industrial and commercial rating sector, dealing with clients including Rolls Royce, BAE systems, Asda and Nissan.

Jim Ruthven, London Head of Rating comments: "The appointment of Alan adds significant market impact to our rating service in London and the Home Counties via mature skill and understanding of the rating system. Alan will provide advice and expertise to our key clients across the whole country via our nationwide office network in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and Edinburgh."

Space Solutions has designs for new Edinburgh bar

Following the recent letting of premises in Frederick Street in Edinburgh to CCK Bars Ltd, the design team of Space Solutions has been appointed to create a new style bar which is planned to open within the next three months.

Extending to just over 2,000 sq ft, the lower ground floor of the bar will have a minimalist feel but will incorporate motifs with the feel of the Arts & Crafts movement and will use strategic mood changing lighting to create different ambiences throughout the day and evening.

Calum Mackinnon, director with CCK Bars Ltd, explained: "We've worked with Space Solutions in the past on a town house refurbishment project and were impressed with the quality of work they carried out, hence their appointment to design our first Edinburgh bar. Adjacent to the high footfall George Street and Princes Street destinations, we're naturally delighted to have secured this building and look forward to opening our first style bar within Edinburgh city centre."

Andy Geddes, a senior designer with Space Solutions, said: "From the initial briefing and creation of a design concept, through to the installation and refurbishment of the building, we are able to offer solutions to fit all our clients' needs. We're naturally delighted to be the design team behind this exciting project."

Radial acquires £17.62m Birmingham distribution property

Warner Estate Holdings plc has announced, on behalf of the Radial Distribution Fund, its joint venture with Bank of Scotland, the £17.62m purchase of Alpha 1 on Hams Hall National Distribution Park, Birmingham. This reflects a net initial yield of 6.125%.

Situated on Birmingham's premier distribution location, the self-contained 218,872sq ft property incorporates a purpose built, steel portal framed warehouse (14 metre eaves) with ancillary offices. The property is let on a new 15-year lease, providing an income of £1,149,078 per annum. Discussions are taking place to enhance the specification and extend the office capacity.

Hams Hall National Distribution Park covers an area of approximately 430 acres. The park is situated close to the national motorway network and has its own international rail freight terminal. It lies approximately twelve miles (18 km) north east of Birmingham City Centre and one mile (1.6 km) from junction 9 of the M42 motorway. Birmingham International Airport is just eight miles to the south.

Michael Stevens, Property Director at Warner Estate: "This acquisition is an excellent addition to Radial's portfolio of ten properties across the country. Hams Hall's key Golden Triangle location and strong tenancy make it an ideal investment, in line with our strategy to buy modern purpose-built stock at major transport intersections. The tenant's proposed fit out provides additional active asset management potential for the Fund."

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Leeds pushes ahead with CPO for city centre redevelopment

Proposals for a major retail-led redevelopment in Leeds, planned as a new urban quarter for the city, have taken a step forward. Councillors have agreed to acquire the land needed using a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

Plans for the Eastgate and Harewood area of the city include a John Lewis department store, over 100 new shops, some 600 residential units, office space and new leisure and entertainment facilities. In addition, the 8.5 hectare site will be the location for cinemas, a gym, a medical centre and a new church.

It is claimed that the project - a collaborative venture involving the city council, John Lewis, Hammersons and Town Centre Securities - will also revitalise one of the city's oldest streets, Lady Lane.

On the current timetable, the scheme is expected to begin climbing off the drawing board in 2008 and be completed in 2011. In a related development, the council has started the next phase of consultation on the Action Area Plan (AAP) for the city centre.

Esk Properties sells two units in Edinburgh New Town

Esk Properties has sold the first two ground floor commercial units in the prestigious Edinburgh New Town mixed use development on the corner of Eyre Place and Dundas Street.

Unit 1 has been sold to Kitchens International (KI) for £700,000. KI will be opening a flagship showroom in the 2,800 sq ft unit. Unit 2 (1,900 sq ft) has been sold to Pagoda PR for £460,000 for the relocation of their head office.

Grant Aitken of Esk Properties, commented: "We are delighted to have secured these disposals prior to the completion of the overall development and we are confident that the remaining two units of 1,900 sq ft and 2,400 sq ft will be leased or sold shortly."

"The marketing campaign has been focused on attracting good quality occupiers that compliment the upper floors of the building which consists of 24 luxurious high quality residential flats and penthouses being developed by Applecross."

Donaldsons and King Sturge are acting for Esk Properties in the disposal of the remaining two units.

New partner at Veale Wasbrough

Property litigation specialist Michelle Bendall has been appointed to Partner at Veale Wasbrough Lawyers in Bristol.

Michelle Bendall joined Veale Wasbrough in 1999 having previously worked as an Associate with Bevan Ashford and for Wragge and Co.

Prior to her promotion to Partner, Michelle was Associate and Team Leader in the firm's successful Property Litigation team.

Michelle has many years senior experience in property litigation working for a variety of clients in both the public and private sectors such as Hills Property Ltd, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Crest Nicholson.

Gateshead Council names GQ2 shortlist

Gateshead Council has named the four companies it has shortlisted as potential developers of the Gateshead Quays Phase 2 site.

The four shortlisted companies are St James Capital Group Ltd, St Modwen Properties plc, Kier Property Ltd and Land Regeneration UK Ltd.

The four companies have been asked to begin preparing more detailed proposals for the GQ2 site ready for presentation to the Council later this year. Gateshead Council will then select a preferred developer for the site.

Nine major national and international development consortia submitted expressions of interest in response to the Council's marketing campaign for a world-class developer for the 5.5acre Gateshead Quays Phase 2 site next to The Sage Gateshead.

Derek Quinn, group director of Development and Enterprise for Gateshead Council, said: "We were delighted with the level of interest from developers who took the opportunity to submit an Expression of Interest. All of these submissions have now been assessed and four have been chosen to go forward to the next stage."

The GQ2 site, which is currently a temporary car park, is recognised as one of the most important and desirable pieces of development land in the north east, surrounded by buildings that have attracted no fewer than 37 national and international building and design awards.

Gateshead Council believes that the right developer could create a significant public space within Gateshead Quays, perhaps incorporating a network of streets and courtyards with family friendly bars, restaurants, street cafes and specialist shops, hotel, residential and office development.

The final result will build on the emerging cultural character of the area, creating a busy urban quarter with a family-friendly atmosphere where people will feel safe and comfortable, whether they are visiting, working or living there.

Stanley Leisure awarded licence for Sheffield Casino

Stanley Leisure plc have announced that Sheffield magistrates have granted a new licence to one of its subsidiaries under the 1968 Act for a 30,000 sq ft casino at St Paul's Place in Sheffield. This will be the Stanley Group's first casino in Sheffield.

Stanley expects to open this casino, which is budgeted to cost £7.75m to fit out, in early 2008. The Sheffield licence is the third new licence Stanley has been granted since the beginning of 2006.

In January Stanley announced a licence in Nottingham for a 30,000 square foot casino in Nottingham's city centre. This will be the Stanley Group's first casino in the Nottingham area which is budgeted to cost £7m to fit out and is expected to open towards the end of this year.

On 7 April, Stanley announced that Liverpool magistrates have granted a new licence to one of its subsidiaries under the 1968 Act for a 30,000 square foot casino in Liverpool's city centre. This will be the Stanley Group's third casino in Liverpool. Stanley expects to open this casino, which is budgeted to cost £8m to fit out, towards the end of 2007.

Stanley Leisure is the largest casino operator in Great Britain with 44 casinos already operating, of which four are in London. The group is progressing with a further five new licence applications for additional casinos in the provinces and three new licence applications in respect of relocations in London, Edinburgh and Southampton.

£20 million SMG headquarters opens in the heart of Glasgow's Pacific Quay

The reputation of Glasgow's Pacific Quay as one of Scotland's most successful regeneration developments has been further boosted with the completion of the £20 million state-of-the-art Scottish Media Group (SMG) headquarters building.

Situated at the heart of the £150 million development, the four storey building comprises 60,000 sq ft of new Grade A open plan, office and new studio space and has a prime frontage overlooking the River Clyde. Built by Miller Construction, the complex has been forward funded by investment specialists AXA Reim on a 20 year lease at £1.328m per annum.

SMG, owners of Scottish TV, will be moving almost 500 staff to the new facility in summer 2006 from their old building at Cowcaddens, where they have been based since 1957.

David Topham, Director of Pacific Quay Developments Ltd and Chief Executive of CTP comments: "SMG's move to Pacific Quay reflects a genuine revitalisation in the area and makes an important statement about the potential of Pacific Quay to attract both high quality tenants and globally active commercial property investors.

"With the BBC scheduled to move on site in 2007, Pacific Quay will be seen as the premier media hub for Scotland, bringing new business and jobs to the city and making Pacific Quay a showpiece development for the whole country."

Formerly one of Glasgow's most important industrial dockyards, the Pacific Quay site became the location for the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988 prior to being earmarked for one of Scotland's largest regeneration projects in the mid-1990s.

In December 2005, Glasgow City Council approved the £150 million masterplan to redevelop the site along the south bank of the River Clyde. The regeneration could see as many as 5,000 jobs created, and combines 500,000 sq ft of high quality office space as well as some 300 homes and a 150-bed hotel on the 800,000 sq ft site.

Planning application for the area is anticipated to move forward this summer, with construction of offices and the hotel scheduled to commence at the end of 2006. The £20 million Finnieston Bridge, which connects the development to the north side of the river, is the first new road traffic bridge to open in Glasgow for 30 years and is scheduled for completion in August 2006.

Keppie designed Scottish Natural Heritage office achieves highest BREEM rating ever

The new £13m Scottish Natural Heritage office in Inverness, designed by leading Scottish architect's Keppie Design, in partnership with the Robertson group, has been awarded the highest ever design and procurement rating in the UK for environmental buildings.

Now nearing completion, the SNH Building in Inverness achieved a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) score of 84%. The Building Research Establishment has confirmed this to be the highest score ever achieved by any building in the UK since the system was introduced in 1998.

Keppie Design and Robertson Property won the 6000sqft, passive environmentally designed office tender in October 2004 following an extremely detailed environmental and sustainability brief from SNH.

In addition, showers and gym are also provided on site to encourage employees to cycle to work as a measure to reduce pollution. The new SNH library roof has even been turfed and rainwater is harvested to ensure the building is as resource and environmentally friendly as possible.

A major challenge has also been to provide new accommodation for the protected Pipistrelle bats, previously living in the nurses home, demolished to may way for the new building. The new design incorporates two centrally heated bat roosts.

SNH is due to take possession of the new building next month and, following some operational fit-out work, will start to move staff in during the month of June. Full occupation is expected by the end of July.