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, September 26, 2023

Savills expands planning team in Manchester

Savills has strengthened its planning team at the company's Manchester office on Fountain Street with the appointment of Jane Dickman.

With over 23 years experience in the planning and development industry having previously worked at Persimmon/Westbury Homes and GVA Grimley, Jane joins the company as a director working predominantly on mixed-use and residential schemes.

Jeremy Hinds, director at Savills, comments: "We are very pleased to welcome Jane to the team. With strong and diverse experience in the residential and mixed-use sectors, she will add a new element to our planning team, which already has a leading presence in the North West market."



6m deal helps Edinburgh's office space problems

Five adjoining townhouses in Edinburgh's prestigious Melville Street are set to be redeveloped in the latest response to the capital's growing demand for high quality office space.

In a deal structured by DTZ, the properties at 3-5 and 7-11 Melville Street have been sold for a figure above the 6.25 million asking price to new owners, Targetfollow, who plan to occupy part of the buildings and refurbish the remainder.

DTZ Director, Mark Jones, said the development would be due for occupation in the spring of next year.

"The buildings were formerly owned by AXA and are likely to be in demand given their location and the manner in which they are to be refurbished. Once completed, the development will provide more than 19,000 sq.ft. of top quality semi open plan space," he added.

"Targetfollow are a Norwich-based commercial property investment and development company who specialise in major opportunities in city centres. The company's development and investment portfolio has a value of 3 billion.

"In what is their first major investment north of the border, they will occupy part of the building with some 11,000 sq.ft of space being available on the open market."

Targetfollow has grown considerably over the past 15 years through the acquisition and development of city centre buildings and the company's portfolio of office, industrial and retail buildings in over 20 UK towns and cities features iconic properties including Baskerville House in Birmingham and Centre Point in London.

Ian Fox, Targetfollow's Executive Director of Property, said: "We are delighted to announce the addition of the Melville Street properties to our UK portfolio. In keeping with our existing portfolio this is a highly desired city centre business address situated next to George Street and Charlotte Square and represents strong growth potential.

"In this core professional area there is a real lack of prime grade A office accommodation. The Trargetspace model has proved very successful; providing quality space on flexible terms with unparalleled IT and telecoms support and we look forward to offering this at Melville Street in Edinburgh."

DTZ represented AXA while Montagu Evans acted for Targetfollow. Both agents have been retained by the new owners.



Nottingham gets the go-ahead for new waterside development

Nottingham's ambitious regeneration plans moved a huge step forward when city leaders gave outlined planning permission for the 390m scheme led by English Partnerships, the government?s national regeneration agency and ISIS.

Outline planning has been granted for the Trent Basin scheme, located between Nottingham Canal to the west, and the racecourse to the east. The development is set to transform one of the city's most rundown areas into a modern riverside community, with flats and houses, offices, shops, bars, restaurants and waterside facilities.

Work on phase one of Trent Basin is expected to begin in 2008 - and is expected to take around two years to complete.

The scheme will see developer, ISIS Waterside Regeneration, working alongside English Partnerships to create a stunning new 28-acre waterfront housing district, together with a new riverside promenade, boater facilities, shops, a community centre and recreation spaces. Both organisations are the main land owners at the site.

Located just 20 minutes walk from the city centre, Trent Basin will feature 2,200 homes and will have a strong community emphasis - with family living, quality open spaces and sustainable development.

The scheme, designed by Notts-based architects Benoy, will connect the city core and the River Trent by opening up views to one of the UK's most striking river arcs which is currently obscured by derelict industrial premises. This space will be opened up to residents, workers and visitors, and public access to the riverside space will be created.



Highcross buys Kenmore Homes for approx 20m

Highcross, the Newbury based private fund manager, has today announced the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Kenmore Homes Group for approaching 20m, the final price depending on the profitability of certain of the existing projects.

Kenmore Homes was established in Edinburgh in 2001 and, with offices in Edinburgh, Winchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Chelmsford, has built a residential development business through project and corporate joint ventures together with direct development. In 2007 Kenmore should construct around 500 residential units.

Kenmore Homes has a projected development pipeline of around 3,000 units in over 50 projects throughout Scotland and England.

Peter Gubb, Chief Executive of Highcross said, "The acquisition of Kenmore Homes gives Highcross an excellent platform into the residential sector and the opportunity to both grow the existing business and to explore new areas of operation and benefit from clear synergies with our existing investments."

Bill Thomson, co-founder with John Kennedy of Kenmore Homes, will step down as chairman but will continue with the company as a consultant. Charles Wilkinson and Drew Reid will continue as joint managing directors and said, "We are delighted with the acquisition by Highcross which gives us the resources to continue the exceptional growth of the company which we have achieved over the past 6 years through our flexible and forward thinking approach to the residential sector."

Kenmore Homes currently has about 30 joint ventures throughout England and Scotland and these will be unaffected by the purchase.



Gardiner & Theobold take the last suite at 33 Park Place, Leeds

Atisreal acting jointly with King Sturge has let the final suite of 33 Park Place to Project Management and Quantity Surveying practice Gardiner & Theobald who have taken a fourth floor suite of c. 3,800 sq ft on a 10 year lease.

The Grade A refurbished building totalling 41,975 sq ft was acquired by Morley Fund Management on behalf of Aviva Staff Pension Fund in February 2006. Prior to Morley's acquisition only one floor was let and since then Atisreal & King Sturge have let c. 35,600 sq ft to a range of high quality tenants, namely RG Group, UK Passport Office, Willis Group, SGP Architects, RMI, Allsops and the TUC.

Nikki Moore, Associate Director at Atisreal comments; "33 Park Place has been a great success story for Morley evidenced by the fact that we have completed nine lettings within less than 18 months."

Jim Boothroyd Partner from Gardiner & Theobald commented; "Having previously been located in Park Square we were keen to stay in the traditional business core. 33 Park Place really filled all our criteria for high specification, good quality office space within the heart of Leeds' business community and met our needs for an expanding office and workload."

Nikki continued; "This latest letting success at 33 Park Place is testament to both the desirability and key location of the building and Morley's flexible letting strategy. Morley has successfully responded to market demand by offering shorter term leases and subdividing floors to accommodate current requirements as well as maintaining competitive rentals. It is clear that we have managed to take advantage of a gap in the Leeds office market."



Manorlane secures deal with Elphinstone Land

Scottish housebuilder Manorlane has secured two prestigious new development sites at Greenlaw, Newton Mearns, in a multi-million pound deal with Elphinstone Land.

The sites are part of a 119-acre initiative in East Renfrewshire which is being redeveloped by the Greenlaw Consortium, comprising Elphinstone Land and a group of housebuilders including Manorlane. The Consortium has been granted planning consent for a major new housing and business development with the potential to support around 3000 jobs.

Manorlane plans to build a selection of high specification four, five and six-bedroom executive homes on the site located in the prestigious area of Newton Mearns, seven miles southwest of Glasgow city centre and immediately to the east of junction 4 of the M77.

Covering a combined area of over 30 acres, the sites are set to deliver Manorlane around 90m over the next five years and have added a further 170 units to its landbank which has tripled to 1,600 units in the past 12 months. The deals come hot on the heels of Manorlane's recent acquisition of the former Clydesdale steel works in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, which will be transformed into a new residential community, delivering the company around 100m.

Elliot Robertson, Chief Executive, Manorlane, said: "Manorlane is building an exceptional reputation for delivering high quality homes and creating outstanding communities, and we believe our new development in Newton Mearns will further enhance this desirable location.

"These land deals, coupled with the acquisition of the former Clydesdale steel works in Bellshill, have positioned us closer to our goal of providing distinctive, high quality homes across central Scotland and will be of significant benefit in helping to further raise the profile of Manorlane as a prestige brand."

Ken Ross, Chief Executive and Chairman of Elphinstone, said: "The multi-million pound investment of infrastructure works is creating real momentum and this deal moves us closer to providing much-needed homes with supporting community facilities ? a real benefit for East Renfrewshire.

"Greenlaw will also be an attractive business location. We believe its proximity to Glasgow's city centre and good road and rail connections will generate a lot of interest and thousands of new, local jobs."

The mixed-use development will include 410,000 sq ft of office space, private and social housing, neighbourhood shops and a hotel, as well as community facilities such as a GP surgery and primary school.

Infrastructure works costing 21 million to include new roads and sewers, roundabouts and road improvements commenced in July 2007 and are scheduled to last 68 weeks.

Manorlane submitted a detailed planning application to East Renfrewshire Council in July 2007 and, subject to planning, anticipates starting on site in June 2008.



Gladman Developments strengthen Scottish office

Gladman Developments has strengthened the team in its Scottish office with the appointment of a new development manager.

Niall Burns joins Gladman Developments' Livingston office from the Edinburgh office of Lambert Smith Hampton, where he was associate director in the Business Space Team.

Mr Burns will work closely with office head and development manager Greg Limb and the other team members to identify and purchase sites for industrial and office developments, as well as for student residences and luxury retirement living.

The UK's largest developer of speculative industrial and office schemes, Gladman Developments already owns sites for office developments in Aberdeen, Livingston, Cumbernauld, Hillington and Berwick. It continues to market Scotland's largest speculative industrial development, MAX at J4M8, which it sold to a US real estate fund earlier this year.

"Scotland represents one of Gladman?s major growth areas within the UK market, and we are looking to acquire sites for new developments throughout the country, in towns with a population of more than 15,000. Niall's experience and contacts built up working across the East of Scotland will help us in this and I am delighted he has joined our growing team," says Mr Limb.

"We have significant funds available to invest in land across the whole of Scotland, if we can find the right opportunities. We always pay introduction fees for sites and retain the introducing agent to market the development for us."

Mr Burns has more than 11 years experience in commercial property. Prior to LSH, he worked for GVA Grimley. He lives in Peebles and is married.

Headquartered in Congleton in Cheshire, Gladman Developments has an annual turnover in excess of 200 million. It has more than four million sq ft of speculative industrial space in development or in the planning process and more than 1 million sq ft of speculative office accommodation under construction.



Tuesday, September 25, 2023

A strong performance by Dunbar Bank's regional office's boost expectations

Strong performance from specialist property lender Dunbar Bank's regional offices has led it to push its new business expectations up for the year by 100m.

In the first quarter Dunbar had said that it expected to achieve 500m of new business by the year end. But by the end of July it had already achieved 370m roughly doubling its new business achieved in the first quarter. By the end of August this had grown to 459m.

Dunbar chief executive Andy Deller said: "Our market has proved very strong. The performance of our regional offices has been particularly pleasing. All of them are up on last year. Birmingham and Newcastle have grown by more than 50% on last year while Leeds and Glasgow have grown their new business books by more than 100%.

"At the current run rate we expect to have closed more than 600m of new business which is well ahead of our earlier expectations and will push our total loan book well over 700m."

Deller said Dunbar with the backing of its Irish-based parent, Zurich Bank can lend up to 50m to a single client and that a strong appetite for this facility had already been demonstrated.

This successful development coincides well with the launch of a new lending team in Dublin, which operates under the Zurich Bank brand in Ireland. The Irish team is led by Zurich Bank's director of property lending Sandra Plunkett. Plunkett was previously divisional director of property lending at Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and prior to that was head of commercial lending at First Active.

In recent weeks Zurich Bank's lending portfolio has included office developments and investments, residential, restaurants, bars, shopping centres, active retirement villages and a major entertainment venue.

Looking ahead Deller said: "Business volumes are still strong, the month ahead looks like one of our best ever with accepted business of 65m already. Should the climate change we can rely on the technical expertise of our lenders. Quality is the watch word. We rely on the quality of our team, and their knowledge will ensure we only back quality clients with quality schemes."



Shepherd Developments let office space in Leeds City Centre

The banking giant HSBC has taken nearly 10,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at the prestigious City Point development in the heart of Leeds.

City Point, the only new-build office block available in Leeds' commercial centre, is a joint development between Shepherd Developments and the Scarborough Development Group. It comprises 62,000 sq ft of quality office space on seven floors at the corner of King Street and Park Place.

At the same time coffee chain Starbucks has taken 2,500 sq ft of retail space on the ground floor of City Point and is now trading.

HSBC is occupying the entire 9,600 sq ft fourth floor and plans to use it as regional offices, occupied by about 80 staff. The rent is 25 per sq ft.

These latest lettings mean that only the second and third floors, totalling 22,000 sq ft, remain available.

City Point was designed by Aedas Architects and Shepherd Design for Shepherd Developments and the Scarborough Development Group. Construction began in December 2004 and was completed in July last year.

Property companies are well-represented at the site, with its 10,400 sq ft first floor being let to GVA Grimley, while the 7,400 sq ft fifth and 4,900 sq ft sixth storeys are rented by King Sturge.

Nick Child, director of Shepherd Developments and the joint venture company said: "This scheme has been a great success for the joint venture and we are keen to secure other opportunities of a similar nature in other provincial cities"

Andrew Crowther, associate director, Scarborough Developments, said: "We're delighted that two big name companies like HSBC and Starbucks have committed to City Point, which is right in the heart of Leeds' thriving business district.

"Due to the buildings quality and location, we had every confidence that there would be demand for accommodation from blue chip businesses in the speculately developed buildings and are pleased to see this judgment being vindicated."

The building, which has been pre-sold to the LNC Property Group. also offers 32 basement car parking spaces and includes an imposing, double-height ground floor reception area.