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.

Monday, March 31, 2024

I & H Brown announces remediation of 23 former gasworks in Scotland so far

Perth based I & H Brown has reached number twenty three in Scottish Gasworks remediation. The company, which provides civil engineering to a wide client base, has a well deserved reputation for cleaning up contaminated land, often using innovative - and award winning - approaches. Last September the company received an award from the Brownfield Briefing Remediation Innovation Awards in London for 'Most Innovative Remediation Method' for the environmental improvements works carried out at a former Gasworks in Dundee.

Says Roger Philpott, Contracts Director of I & H Brown: "If you are in the property or construction business you will know that it is all about making that development happen and keeping it well on track as it progresses. It is helpful to be aware of the various stages of civil engineering necessary nowadays in developing brownfield sites for example and preparing land for housing and infrastructure provision. Similarly if you are a landowner who wishes to remediate a piece of land for a new use, there are many more options available to consider and indeed, we are at the forefront of this sector, having gained a reputation - and industry awards - for innovative and sustainable remediation techniques."

He added: "Land to build on remains at a premium in this country. Meanwhile there is a demand for new housing, particularly affordable housing and so developers are having to seek out locations which will work for them. It is no secret that the government wants to encourage the development of brownfield sites and at I & H Brown, a family run firm which retains the personal touch, we have the necessary expertise to make this happen for our clients. We are happy to work in partnership with others in developing land or can develop land belonging to a third party."

Established in 1964, I & H Brown has a turnover of approximately 40 million and employs over 200 people at its offices in Perth and Warrington. As well as civil engineering and remediation, the company is active in the field of energy, particularly the development of wind farms. Other areas of business include the development of land, both greenfield and brownfield, and through its award winning rural homes division, Tighmor.

New Critical Care Department unveiled in Sheffield

A brand new Critical Care Department in Sheffield, the only one of its kind in Europe, has been unveiled for the first time.

Architects Race Cottam Associates have designed the 21.3m unit at the city's Northern General Hospital - the biggest health project ever delivered by the practice.

Key health care staff and stakeholders were given the chance to look around the flagship development during an open day last week.

The new unit, built to the new HBN specification for healthcare buildings, addresses a recognised need for improved facilities for the treatment of severely ill patients in South Yorkshire and confirms Race Cottam's reputation as one of the country's leading architects for NHS projects.

Mark Barker, lead architect for the project and a Race Cottam Regional Director, said: "The needs of patients, visitors and staff were at the forefront of our design vision and we have worked in close partnership with the Trust and health care professionals to deliver this important project.

"The result is a unit that reflects current thinking in the health care sector and a development which we hope will improve the quality of health care across the region."

Jacky Rawlins, Group General Manager Critical Care at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: "The Critical Care Department was designed to optimise the care given to patients. Both clinical staff and patient groups worked closely with the Architects and the construction team to ensure all aspects of well being for all was considered. The team also commissioned Professor Roger Ulrich, a leading authority in USA hospital design to provide expert advice in maximising the attributes of the facility to those ends.

Careful planning has given the unit an airy and quiet but professional atmosphere. The services to the building are all accessible from outside therefore disruption to the smooth running of the unit is minimised during maintenance. The result being downtime is reduced and patient access maximised."

The scheme provides enhanced facilities for staff, patients and their relatives. New wards boast a higher proportion of single rooms where healthcare staff can better cope with complex medical conditions.

The architects have maximised window openings to allow natural light to penetrate the building and provide patients with interesting views from their hospital beds. The innovative use of internal windows and special glazing also increases the ability of staff to observe patients throughout the unit.

To facilitate the space for this development a Therapy Services Unit, completed earlier this year, offers new additional treatment spaces plus gym facilities, patient changing rooms and an open plan waiting area.

The project was procured under the NHS Procure 21 principles of partnering with HBG Construction as developers.

CB Richard Ellis take on lettings at East Kilbride

CB Richard Ellis (Scotland) has announced its appointment as joint letting agents for the 1.2million square foot East Kilbride Shopping Centre, on behalf of PropInvest.

With over 230 units, East Kilbride (EK) Shopping Centre is the largest enclosed shopping centre in Scotland situated in the heart of Scotland's most successful new town. Its anchor tenants include Debenhams, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer as well as a 9-screen Odeon cinema, full size ice rink and Carlton Bingo.

Estelle Forrester, Associate Director (Retail), said, "This appointment reflects our ongoing strength in the retail lettings arena in Scotland. EK is an exciting proposition for us and currently has a range of interesting leasing opportunities which means we will hit the ground running.

"With over 300,000 visitors a week, EK is a thriving centre which has consistently increased its customers and shown strong sales. It has much to offer the catchment area with its exciting mix of the most exciting retail, leisure, and catering outlets within its mile of malls."

CBRE have been appointed joint agents alongside McParlane and Co and Churston Heard.

Springside to alleviate Grade A office shortage in Edinburgh

Work is set to start in June on the first offices at Edinburgh's new Springside quarter on the site of Sir Sean Connery's birthplace.

The five-storey building on the former Scottish & Newcastle brewery site in Fountainbridge will feature 62,283 square feet of high quality office space.

A number of retail units including coffee and sandwich shops facing Fountainbridge will also be created in the building for both Springside residents and the 2,500 employees who are expected to eventually work in the area.

Designed by award-winning Edinburgh architects CDA, the entrance to the building will be complemented by a landmark glazed tower.

It will occupy the former birthplace of screen legend Sean Connery, Fountainbridge's most famous son, who grew up in a tenement long since demolished to make way for the brewery. The development team behind Springside, Grosvenor, AMA and The Royal Bank of Scotland, is currently considering options to commemorate Sir Sean's links with the area.

The 9.5 acre Springside quarter, one of the largest city centre regeneration projects seen in the Scottish Capital during the past 50 years, will also provide 600 new homes. A third of the initial 58 flats on offer were reserved in the first weekend in January.

Springside will act as a natural extension to the Haymarket area and the Exchange financial district, but also cement Fountainbridge's reputation as a quality business location.

Dr Ali Afshar, director of AMA, said: "This will be a high quality commercial hub within a brand new urban district in the very heart of a dynamic city centre. These offices will further cement Fountainbridge's growing reputation as a popular business location in Edinburgh."

Peter l'Anson, partner at Ryden, which along with King Sturge is the joint letting agent for Springside, said: "This prime office development will be an integral part of the city's growing business area, close to the Exchange financial district and Haymarket area. We expect significant interest in Springside, particularly given the limited availability of Grade A space in the heart of Edinburgh."

John Irvine, director of Grosvenor, said: "The building will reinvigorate and reinforce Fountainbridge as a vibrant commercial centre, both enhancing the appearance and maintaining the complex and varied character of this major arterial route."

Tuesday, March 25, 2024

The Horbury Group seals four deals across Yorkshire

Rotherham construction specialist The Horbury Group has successfully clinched four deals across Yorkshire worth a total of more than 1.5m.

The most substantial is a 850,000 contract from main contractor Taylor Woodrow for MWS Joinery to work on the Hungate development in York.

Setting ambitious new standards in urban regeneration, Hungate is set to become a 150m new city quarter consisting of eco-friendly apartments, town houses, leisure facilities, offices, cafes, car-free open spaces and its own nature reserve.

MWS will be providing doors, frames, skirting and bespoke oak staircases for the apartments.

In Sheffield, Titan Ceilings and Horbury Building Systems (HBS) will be working on The Square Phase 2 development by Carillion on Park Square in Sheffield city centre. This scheme offers 40,000sq ft of Grade A office space over six floors.

In a joint 400,000 deal, HBS are providing steel framed systems and Titan will install suspended ceilings.

In addition, Titan will be working on two major educational developments in South Yorkshire. In Sheffield, they have won a 240,000 contract from Taylor Woodrow to install suspended ceilings throughout the 23m new-look Silverdale School in Bents Green.

And in Doncaster, a 160,000 deal from main contractor Norwest Holst Ltd will see Titan provide suspended ceilings in a new secondary school in Mexborough.

David Priestley, business development manager for the Horbury Group, said: "These contracts are really good news for The Horbury Group and reflect the growth right throughout the different companies. As a Yorkshire based organistaion ourselves, it is great to work within the region on some of these really exciting projects which will make a big difference to the communities involved."

Demand for quality regeneration projects set to grow

Rettie & Co have announced the launch of a new specialist team providing advice and agency support for Regeneration Projects. The leading property company is predicting further projects that will require dedicated expertise to ensure strategies are well planned and executed.

Matthew Benson, Director of Land & New Homes, commented: "From an early involvement in the Urban Villages Forum, we have taken an active role working with and understanding the dynamics of regeneration projects. Our involvement in this sector has grown rapidly and the recent successful launch of projects with PARC and Places for People, where we have acted as residential consultants and selling agents, has highlighted the growing need for professional support in this area. We work with contacts in both the public and private sector to develop effective strategies from the initial master planning stages through to the sales and marketing of the properties and we are also actively involved in exploring new ways of delivering more affordable housing."

The team is now able to offer the following skills and services:

Affordable housing solutions - working with partners including local council planning departments, the private sector and developers to find effective solutions to affordable housing allocation issues

Master Planning consultancy - working with partners in the local communities, councils and private sector businesses to provide advice regarding the residential master planning strategy

Residential consultancy - advice regarding the mix, unit size, layouts and pricing strategies of developments within regeneration areas

Marketing consultancy - strategic planning and implementation of co-ordinated sales and marketing plans

Sales - provision of skilled sales teams with experience of selling in regeneration areas with the ability to implement sales strategies including priority purchase schemes and shared equity

Ground broken on 33m Hamilton project

The first spade has hit the ground on the site of the final building in Hamilton International Park's phase two expansion plans.

Tom McCabe, MSP for Hamilton South, attended the 'sod cutting' ceremony to officially launch construction work on the 80,000 sq ft Ochil House.

Sited in an elevated position, Ochil House will be the largest building at the Park at 80, 416 sq ft when it is completed in Summer 2009 and will enjoy exceptional views over Central Scotland. The four-storey building will benefit from underground parking and provide grade A flexible office space to suit a variety of needs.

The last building in Hamilton International Park's (HIP) phase two expansion plans has already been snapped up by an investor syndicate. A Chancery partnership investor syndicate has purchased Ochil House for a total of 33million, demonstrating the ongoing attraction of HIP as both a business destination and investment location.

William Hill, managing director of HF Developments, said: "It's great to see construction work get underway on this, the last and biggest building in our phase two expansion plans, and we?re delighted that Tom could be here to officially cut the first piece of turf.

"The expansion plans have progressed quickly and many of the new developments have been acquired by investors, demonstrating the success of the Park both as a key investment and working location.

"We will continue to invest and expand, ensuring that Hamilton International Park remains the destination of choice for local, regional and international businesses looking to locate in the heart of central Scotland."

Recent investment at the Park has included the development of a new 5.25m Retail Parade, the addition of the new-build 24,000 sq ft Fenick House and 39,000 sq ft Fintry House, and the provision of free bus travel for park tenants.

Tom McCabe, MSP for Hamilton South, added: "This is a significant development for the area and I am pleased to be here to officially mark the commencement of the construction work. In addition to the creation of several thousand jobs, the expansion of the business park has helped boost the local economy and I'm sure there will be no shortage of interest in the latest offering from Hamilton International Park."

DTZ, Lambert Smith Hampton and Cushman & Wakefield are retained letting agents for the available office accommodation at Hamilton International Park.

Employees in property sector call for more support to shrink workplace carbon emissions

Employees in the property sector are ready and willing to shrink their workplace emissions but need more support from their employers to do so. According to the findings of a Carbon Trust report into employees' attitudes to carbon reduction, 67 per cent of employees surveyed from the sector said they wanted to cut their carbon emissions but wanted more guidance and empowerment.

Only 23 per cent of respondents said they thought their organisation was doing enough to cut its emissions and nearly four-fifths (79 per cent) said their employer had made no attempt to encourage them to consider ways of reducing their emissions by taking alternative transport to work.

The good news is that empowering employees does not need to be costly and the results can have an almost immediate impact. While 90 per cent of those surveyed from the property sector said there was no training in place to teach them how to reduce emissions, of those employees in all sectors that had been trained, an overwhelming 93 per cent rated it as 'fairly' or 'very' useful. Many employees in the property sector are not waiting for permission to take action with nearly half (48 per cent) having already taken personal steps to reduce their emissions at work in the last 12 months.

According to Hugh Jones, Solutions Director at the Carbon Trust, simple initiatives like staff training and appointing a 'Carbon Champion' can really help to trigger action in employee teams.

"Our research shows that those in workplaces where a 'Carbon Champion' has been appointed say it encouraged more action to reduce emissions. You can put in a new energy-efficient boiler, or install low-energy light bulbs, and those will make a difference, but many of the measures that will have the biggest impact and achieve the greatest savings require buy-in across your workforce.

"In the current economic climate it's never been more important for all businesses, of all sizes, to act on climate change. With savings of up to 20 per cent to be made on energy bills through no cost or cost effective measures it makes perfect business sense to empower employees to do their bit both at work and at home.

"You need your teams to think twice before printing documents, to turn off their PCs and lights at the end of the day, to participate enthusiastically in recycling schemes and to consider the carbon footprints of the method of travel they use and the products they source."

This week the Carbon Trust is launching a national campaign to encourage organisations and employees to work closer together to shrink their carbon footprints. A free employee pack, which offers advice on low or no cost energy saving measures, is available at or by calling 0800 085 2005.

Workplace emissions - fast facts

Office lights left on overnight use enough energy in a year to heat a home for almost 5 months

A 2c increase in office temperature creates enough CO2 in a year to fill a hot air balloon

Air conditioning an office for 1 extra hour a day uses enough energy in a month to power a TV for over a year

A computer left on overnight for a year creates enough CO2 to fill a double-decker bus

A photocopier left on standby overnight wastes enough energy to make 30 cups of tea

A chiller door left open for 30 minutes a day wastes enough energy in a year to power a lighthouse for nearly 4 days

Prime Edinburgh development site for sale

Property consultant Ryden, acting for a private client, is selling a modern warehouse estate with residential development potential at 24 Orwell Terrace just off Dalry Road in Edinburgh.

The estate provides three units totalling 20,441 sq ft on a 0.82 acre site. One of the units is leased to Plumb Center until 2011.

Roy Durie of Ryden said: "Whilst there might be some interest in the estate for wholesale warehouse use, the surrounding area has been redeveloped with residential flats. I envisage that that the site should be redeveloped for residential use and would accommodate around forty flats."

Friday, March 21, 2024

Space Solutions expand into new Glasgow offices

As the result of a period of rapid growth and expansion, architecture and workplace planning practice Space Solutions has moved into larger offices in the heart of Glasgow's business district.

Eighteen months after launching its first operation in the city, Space Solutions has relocated into refurbished city centre offices at 202 Bath Street. The move reflects the company's continued success in Glasgow and allows for the extension of client services in the future.

Director Derek Binnie said: "We have seen a significant increase in activity across each of our service offerings. The business is about to commence a series of exciting new projects that will sustain and enhance this growth. The new office move further cements our reputation as leading workplace designers in the Scottish marketplace."

Space are also delighted to announce the appointment of a new business development manager for Glasgow. John Mulgrew joins the team, bringing with him a wealth of experience in delivering workplace solutions.

He said: "Space have been setting the industry standards in workplace planning and design and I am delighted to join the team at this exciting time."

Space Solutions announced last month it was embarking on an ambitious growth strategy to further capture a significant share of the booming commercial property market in the region.

The company, which currently employs over 100 staff in offices across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, has set a turnover target of 15million for 2008 and aims to recruit around 20 professionals including architects, quantity surveyors and project managers in the next six months.

Wilkinson let new store at the Merrion Centre in Leeds

Town Centre Securities, advised by Savills, has let 34-38 Woodhouse Lane at the Merrion Centre in Leeds to Wilkinson Hardware Stores.

Wilkinson, who is already trading from a 34,065 sq ft (3,164 sq m) store in Leeds City Centre, will adopt a new smaller store concept totalling 6,053 (346 sq m) at the Merrion Centre. The store aims to attract a wider range of consumers and was secured on a new 15-year lease at an annual rent of 135,000.

Helen Beckett at Town Centre Securities, comments: "Following the lettings to Costa Coffee, Sainsbury's and Nevisport at the Merrion Centre, we are delighted to welcome Wilkinson to the scheme. Woodhouse Lane has undergone extensive redevelopment over the last year and has now established itself as a prominent retail location with a significant footfall."

Steve Henderson, associate director at Savills, adds: "We are very pleased to have agreed terms with Wilkinson for its new trial concept in Leeds, which is due to open in May 2008. This letting leaves one remaining unit within this first phase of the redevelopment proposals at the Merrion Centre for which we have already received significant interest from national and regional retailers."

Town Centre Securities was represented by Savills and Harmer Ray Hoffbrand. Wilkinson Hardware was represented by Central Retail.

Town Centre Securities make new appointments in Manchester

Town Centre Securities PLC has appointed Jonathon Miller as Business Development Manager and Kirsty Shearer as Corporate Relations Manager. Jonathon and Kirsty will be working from Town Centre Securities' Manchester city centre development, Piccadilly Basin. Jonathon joins TCS from KALMARs, a leading Commercial and Residential agency in London's Southbank.

Development Director for Town Centre Securities, Richard Lewis, said; "Jonathon's experience of over twenty years in the industry will assist in the acquisition of Investment and Development opportunities for TCS in Manchester." Chairman and CEO of Town Centre Securities, Edward Ziff, continued; "These new appointments are testament to our commitment to our Manchester operations. Jonathon and Kirsty are well placed to oversee our Manchester activity and bring a wealth of expertise to the team."

Aberdeen's Crombie Mills development completed

Scotland's premier small office developer has reached practical completion at Crombie Mills, one of its prime sites just outside Aberdeen.

The success of this site by Business Homes CALA Limited reinforces the continued strong demand for out-of-town office locations and the current shortage of high quality space in the region.

Conveniently located on the outskirts of the largest commercial centre in the Grampian region, Crombie Mills benefits from excellent transport links into the city centre and national motorway network, and is less than 5 miles away from Aberdeen?s international airport.

Each two storey building is built to Grade A specification, finished to the highest standard, and is offered with 10 year warranties on the quality of build, giving both investors and tenants peace of mind. Occupiers also benefit from the installation of state-of-the-art 24 hour security systems, as well as bespoke IT/telecoms solutions as standard, providing high speed internet access.

Whilst all three buildings have been sold to either investors or owner-occupiers, just one 3,051 sq ft unit remains on a leasehold basis priced from 16.50 per sq ft.

However for investors or businesses looking to secure a freehold building, similar success can be found nearby at its sister site located at Twin Spires Business Park on Mugiemoss Road, just minutes from the airport. This development comprises eight office buildings ranging from 3,054 sq ft to 6,164 sq ft, and whilst over half of the units have been sold, four buildings are still available on either a freehold or leasehold basis.

Commenting, Brian Robinson, Managing Director for Business Homes CALA Ltd said: "The level of enquiries continues to be high, particularly from businesses wishing to move out of the city centre into more cost effective modern facilities with on-site car parking.

"Occupiers at both sites can be assured of good company and will be rubbing shoulders with the influential oil and gas industries, which have taken up office space within the vicinity."

Purpose built telecoms and I.T. solutions and state of the art security systems mean a fully bespoke service for proprietors and tenants alike.

Business Homes is continuing to expand its portfolio in Scotland and is currently developing similar schemes at East Kilbride, Dunfermline, Livingston and near Edinburgh.

Plans approved for new Glasgow office development

Glasgow's business district will benefit from much-needed additional office space after planning consent has been granted for a new 6m office development in Elliot Street in the Anderston area of the city.

As demand for good, quality office space in Glasgow's city centre expands further west, the Elliot Street development offers businesses good accommodation that is convenient for close transport links, as well as maintaining a close presence in the city.

The new 40,000 sq ft office scheme at 138 Elliot Street, will occupy a prominent position close to the Clydeside Expressway and will be a key development in the regeneration of the Anderston and Finnieston area of the city, which has been undergoing extensive redevelopment to attract more businesses to the area. Already, neighbouring occupiers include Green's Heath & Fitness Club, Fortis Bank, O2 and The City Inn, all which have proved that the area is an established, excellent business location.

Designed by architects, Cooper Cromer, 138 Elliot Street will provide high-quality office accommodation over ground and three upper floors and will have 66 on-site car parking spaces. The building will be fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act and the developer, is targeting a very good environmental assessment rating (BREEAM). The site enjoys good access to all parts of the city via the Clydeside Expressway to the north and the recently completed Clyde Arc bridge which links the north bank of the river to Pacific Quay and the south side.

Commenting, private developer Stephen Shear, whose company, Sovereign Properties has a number of land holdings in the Finnieston area, said: "I am thrilled that planning consent has finally been granted for this exciting scheme that will further enhance this area. Funding has been secured and I anticipate that construction will commence early in 2008."

Joint letting agents are Knight Frank and Glen & Co. Sinclair Browne, Partner who manages Knight Frank's Office Agency Team said: "This will be a high quality development that will have first class communication links not only via the existing road network but also as a result of the close proximity to the Exhibition Centre suburban railway station that lies within five minutes walk."

David Glen of Glen & Co added: "We see flexibility as being the key to the success of this development and we have all put a great deal of thought into ensuring we are in the best possible position to accommodate prospective tenants. Indeed, we are already in discussions with occupiers that, we hope, will result in the pre-letting of around 45 per cent of the available space. With the funding secured, this will be one of only a few completions in 2009 on the periphery of the city centre."

The developer and architect are currently in negotiations to appoint contractors.

Tuesday, March 18, 2024

Kilpatrick Property Group complete double deal

Kilpatrick Property Group has recently purchased two investments within Rutherglen and Blantyre respectively.

The first purchase comprised two roadside units at 110 Glasgow Road, Rutherglen from the Ashtenne Industrial Fund for 975,000, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.17%. The units are currently let to ATS Euromaster Limited and Electrical Network Limited and extend to 8,034 sq ft and 8,118 sq ft respectively. They are situated immediately adjacent to the proposed M74 extension route and produce current rents of 64,000 pa (3.90 per sq ft)

The second purchase is a multi-let trading estate at Blantyre. Auchinraith Trading Estate was bought from Kenmore for a price of 800,000, reflecting a net initial yield of 7.91%. The estate comprises 11 units with 7 tenants in place.

Kilpatrick Property Group was advised by James Barr with Sanders Cartwright representing both the Ashtenne Industrial Fund and Kenmore.

Commenting on the deals, Alasdair Irvine, Kilpatrick's property director, said: "We are delighted to have completed the purchase of both investments. Glasgow Road, Rutherglen represents an excellent roadside location for industrial / trade counter units and is set to improved further with the completion of the M74 motorway. Auchinraith Trading Estate in Blantyre offers us various asset management angles to exploit over the next 2/3 years giving us the opportunity to enhance the value of the estate".

Scott McCrindle of James Barr added: "The purchase of both investments reinforces our thoughts that realistic deals can still be achieved in difficult market conditions and the reversionary nature of the properties affords our client various angles within the short to medium term".

Prudential concludes sale of Pentland House in Edinburgh

King Sturge has recently concluding the sale of Pentland House in Edinburgh on behalf of Prudential Property Investment Managers to Camlin Investments Ltd. The purchase price of 14.87 million reflects a net initial yield of 7%.

Pentland House is situated west of central Edinburgh, on Robbs Loan, which is between Gorgie Road and Slateford Road. It is a detached office building, developed in 1972 and designed in an 'H' formation with the central portion being six storeys, with five levels over the two wings.

The building extends to 92,148 sq ft on a site area of 2.338 acres (0.946 hectares) and has car parking for 180 vehicles. It is let entirely to the Scottish Ministers (Department of Rural Affairs and Scottish Fishing Protection Agency) with more than ten years remaining on an unexpired lease. The passing rental is 1,100,000 per annum (11.97 per sq ft).

King Sturge represented Prudential Property Investment Managers, whilst DTZ acted for Camlin Investments Ltd.

Habitat moves its Manchester flagship store to Barton Square

Habitat, advised by Harper Dennis Hobbs, has moved its Manchester flagship store to Barton Square, the new home interiors shopping concept at The Trafford Centre, from St Ann's Street in the city centre.

The international furnishings retailer has taken a 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) outlet at the scheme on a new 10 year lease.

Barton Square, which opens on March 20th, is the new homewares area of The Trafford Centre, linked to the original scheme by a glazed bridge. Other occupiers include Marks & Spencer Home, Next Home, British HOME Stores and Dwell.

David Harper of Harper Dennis Hobbs comments: "Barton Square is the ideal location for Habitat's flagship store and is ideally suited to the needs of Habitat.

"The former store on St Ann's Street can no longer provide the retail environment or facilities that many top retailers require, while the new development gives Habitat an excellent trading space and convenient location.

"The concept of Barton Square will benefit all of the retailers involved and will ensure that it becomes the destination for homewares and furnishings in the North West."

Atholls Chartered Surveyors continue Scottish expansion

Atholls Chartered Surveyors are pleased to announce the opening of their new office in Inverurie, some 18 miles northeast of Aberdeen, to serve both their residential and commercial clients in the Northeast of Scotland area. Inverurie will be the third office for Atholls which already have offices in Aberdeen and Dundee.

This office was opened to service the rapidly expanding Inverurie area as well as the vibrant residential housing market within the northern part of Aberdeenshire and Moray.

Atholls are a multi-disciplinary surveying practice able to carry out all aspects of residential and commercial work as well as project and contract management of new build, refurbishment and extensions to both commercial and residential property. They also have a department specialising in the factoring and management of both residential and commercial properties throughout Scotland.

The commercial services offered include valuation reports, the selling and purchase of all types of property as well as lettings and rent reviews and all other aspects of commerical work.

Through their consultancy agreement with Valunation, one of Britain's leading independent firm of chartered surveyors, Atholls are also able to provide a full range of residential surveying valuation services with reports acceptable to banks, building societies and other mortgage lenders.

Scotfield Ltd property developers relocate Leeds HQ

Leeds based property developer Scotfield Ltd has relocated its headquarters to their award winning flagship city centre scheme, The Gateway.

Scotfield Ltd has taken a 15 year lease on 3,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at a rental price of 19.75 per sq ft. The re-location of the entire team is testament to Scotfield chairman Martin Rapley's commitment to the landmark mixed use scheme that comprises office, retail and residential components.

Martin Rapley said; "I am incredibly proud of The Gateway development and all it has achieved. The office accommodation on offer here is second to none - we were able to secure high specification space with secure parking at a rent 20% lower than core city centre comparisons.

"The on-site amenities such as the gym, Aroma Leeds coffee shop and newest tenant Hirst and Miller Hair Studio means there's a real buzz and sense of community within the development that will surely go from strength to strength with the imminent opening of the bar/ restaurant."

Development director at Scotfield, Stephen Holman, continued; "Obviously we all have a real affinity for The Gateway after working so intrinsically on its development and watching its progress over the last few years. It's really fulfilling to be able to enjoy it from the inside and really become part of the fabric of the scheme by relocating our head offices here."

Joint agents on the scheme are King Sturge and Jones Lang LaSalle. Lizzie Ridler, senior associate at King Sturge said; "The Gateway has received a wide variety of interest from various potential occupiers - it is a fantastic endorsement for the scheme developers Scotfield to become an anchor tenant at the development."

The four acre island development developed by Scotfield Ltd has seen phenomenal success in both is commercial and residential offerings since the completion of Phase One last year. The development's unique design and stunning turquoise tiling has created a new landmark on the cityscape of Leeds helping to attract key office, commercial and retail occupiers as well as residents to the 256 apartments.

Shepherd Construction are currently on-site working on Phase Two, which is to be 'Gateway East' and 'Gateway South', and will boast 25,000 sq ft of prime office space and a further 298 luxury apartments, 70% of which have already sold.

Wednesday, March 12, 2024

Knight Frank market John Smith Business Park in Kirkcaldy

Knight Frank, the marketing agents for John Smith Business Park in Kirkcaldy, announces the next stage of development at the park as work starts on a new 23,500 sq ft office development which forms part of a 3.15 million investment project by Fife Council with support from Scottish Enterprise Fife.

Knight Frank has been appointed to market the business park on behalf of Fife Council who has provided the majority of the funding for the project at 2.75 million with the remainder invested from Scottish Enterprise Fife. The new office premises will be the third development on the park with the first two buildings having both been sold to MGt plc.

John Smith Business Park extends to approximately 60 acres and is earmarked for a major mixed-use development to include leisure and high quality office accommodation. The business park is adjacent to the successful Fife Retail Park, home to household names such as Sainsburys, Boots, Next and Homebase.

The council has awarded the contract for the new office development to Dundee based construction company Muirfield Contracts Ltd which is likely to be completed early next year.

Nadir Khan-Juhoor, partner, Knight Frank said: "We're pleased to announce the further development of 23,500 sq ft of new office accommodation at John Smith Business Park, which shows a significant investment in Fife and underpins the confidence in the local business community. The existing commitment by MGt is great news for the business park and indicates that there is high demand for good quality accommodation in this area of Scotland. With a winning location and a great range of services and opportunities offered by the park, the new office development is sure to be a success generating strong levels of interest at both a regional and national level."

Councillor Tony Martin said: "Bringing new jobs to Mid Fife is a priority for us and John Smith Business Park has a tremendously important role to play in making that happen. We're investing here to provide high quality business space in a high quality environment. It's exactly what companies, particularly in the growing business and financial sectors, expect and I'm confident that we will deliver a first class development."

"The Council's investment in both infrastructure and the first office buildings has been essential to get development started at John Smith Business Park but the private sector is now keen to get involved and we're in discussions with a number of potential investors. There's also a significant amount of land to the east of the Business Park which will be developed for housing. This whole area is going to be a real focus for development over the next few years."

Joe Noble, operations director, Scottish Enterprise Fife said: "The initial phases of John Smith Business Park have been extremely successful and the area continues to be of strategic importance to the Central Fife economy. We are delighted to continue our support for this latest stage of development which will undoubtedly enhance the area's provision of high quality office space that is of a standard and size required by some of Scotland's key priority industries."

Prumip sell Leeds industrial unit for 1.16m

A London-based institution has sold a well located Leeds industrial unit for 1.16 million.

Prumip has sold the 25,517 sq ft industrial building at West End Approach, Morley, to a private purchaser.

The deal represents a capital value of 45 per sq ft and a net initial yield of 7.95 per cent.

Tenants Saint-Gobain Building Distribution Ltd are paying 97,500 per annum for a further 5.5 years.

Rebecca Farnsworth of property consultancy Knight Frank's Leeds office advised Prupim.

She commented: "This transaction proved that deals can be done in this challenging climate, if the product is priced correctly and suited to current requirements. This sale generated strong interest."

Kilmartin and Ashford form 10m joint venture in Fort William

Kilmartin and Ashford Property Group today announce that they have created a new joint venture Kilmartin Ashford for the acquisition and development of a prime High Street site in Fort William.

Kilmartin Ashford acquired the 0.86 acre site, situated at the southern end of the town's High Street, on 1 February 2024 for 2.4 million. The site comprises the former McTavish's Kitchen restaurant and nightclub, which was destroyed by fire in June 2006, together with the existing Grand Hotel.

Kilmartin Ashford intends to demolish the existing hotel and develop a mixed-use scheme consisting of high quality retail units on the ground floor, totalling approximately 20,000 sq ft in lettable area, together with a 60-bedroom hotel on the upper floors. The hotel is currently under offer to a national operator and the end value of the completed development is expected to be around 10 million.

Pre-application discussions have taken place with The Highland Council and a planning application is due to be submitted shortly. Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2008 with practical completion scheduled for Autumn 2009.

Nick Ball, Director of Kilmartin, commented: "This is an exciting project, which will provide Fort William with larger and more flexible retail space, which we believe will meet demand from a growing number of national retailers that are currently seeking space in the town.

"We look forward to working with Ashford and believe that the scheme will benefit from the combination of development and management skills that will be available through the joint venture."

Andrew Smith, Director of Ashford, added: "We are delighted to have formed this joint venture with Kilmartin, which we hope will be the first of many. This scheme offers a unique opportunity for retailers to gain access to retail space of this size and flexibility and we already have significant retailer interest. We look forward to announcing pre-lettings in due course."

Kilmartin and Ashford were represented by CBRE in the site acquisition. Culverwell and DTZ will be the joint letting agents.

Tuesday, March 11, 2024

Two new tenants at 220 St. Vincent Street in Glasgow

ING Real Estate Investment Management has announced that it has now let the ground and first floors of its Grade A refurbishment at 220 St Vincent Street, to CIGNA International.

This deal was announced just days after the conclusion of the first letting at the building, where Hiscox Insurance confirmed that it would take the fourth floor of 220 St Vincent Street.

Healthcare provider, CIGNA International, will take 7,977 ft at 22 per ft, as well as five car parking spaces, while Hiscox Insurance has taken 4,225 ft (as well as three car parking spaces) at 23 per ft.

Comprising a total of 25,531ft of modern refurbished office space, with a classical external frontage, 220 St Vincent Street offers six high-specification floors, accessed via a contemporary new entrance foyer, located in Glasgow's prime office district. It also offers 17 secure car parking spaces and two passenger lifts and has a 'very good' BREEAM rating.

Jamie Munday, Fund Manager at ING Real Estate Investment Management, commented: "To have let three floors in such quick succession after completing the refurbishment is a testament both to the current strength of the Glasgow office market and the quality of the accommodation at 220 St Vincent Street. This is superb Grade A space in a key city centre location, and as a result there is also significant interest in the remaining floors."

220 St Vincent Street was officially launched on 8 February and is being let by joint agents CB Richard Ellis and Ryden.

CB Richard Ellis acted for CIGNA International while Ryden acted for ING in the latest transaction; and GVA Grimley acted for Hiscox Insurance in the first transaction.

Atisreal in Sheffield acquires new office premises

Acting on behalf of the University of Sheffield Atisreal's agency division has acquired new office premises at Merlin Estates' new mixed use development at Broad Lane on the edge of Sheffield city centre.

The University has acquired 34,000 sq ft of new office space on a 15 year lease; upon completion of the development in 2009 the university will locate some of its services to the site.

The 15M development will house 99 apartments and 100,000 sq ft of brand new and converted office space on a 1.5 acre site. The project will also comprise underground parking and 10,000sq ft of brown roofing.

Nick Baker, head of sales and lettings at Atisreal's Sheffield office headed up the deal for the university, he said; "The University is very pleased to have secured such high quality accommodation in a strategic and convenient location adjacent to its main campus. The acquisition has required an immense amount of cooperation with regards to design changes to ensure that the University attained the perfect building to showcase their facilities."

Ashford announces new student development in Edinburgh

Edinburgh continues to be in high demand for higher education, with students numbers continuing to rise year after year, placing an ever-increasing squeeze on accommodation in the capital. The five education providers in Edinburgh currently have a combined total of 8,325 bed spaces for approximately 41,525 full time students. Therefore only 20% of students are able to reside within University accommodation and the others need to stay in private sector accommodation,

To help cope with the demand for student accommodation, Edinburgh-based Ashford Property Group is developing a 70-bed hall of residence at Blackfriars Street, which has been pre-let to the University of Edinburgh. The development contains apartments with shared facilities and will have an end value of 5 million. Planning permission has been granted for the seven-floor development and construction is schedule to commence this summer, with the estimated completion being autumn 2009.

Andrew Smith, Director of Ashford Property says: "We see this is a strategic growth area for Ashford, particularly as trends show that more students are choosing to participate in higher education."

Ashford has a solid track record in student accommodation, having previously developed a 60-bed facility at Roxburgh Place. The Roxburgh Place Halls of residence was previously offices for the Institute of Occupational Medicine and was converted by Ashford and sold to a private investor in 2003 for 3.25 million.

With the numbers of students continuing to rise - Scottish Government statistics quote a 40% increase in higher education from 203,360 to 285,180 over the past ten years - demand continues to outstrip supply, with an ongoing shortage of quality student accommodation, particularly in the capital.

The Scottish market is also fuelled by a substantial increase in students from other parts of the UK, particularly England, where there has been a 12.1% increase over the past year, according to UCAS. Over 27,100 students from the rest of the UK now study in Scotland. In addition, the latest Scottish Government figures show that overseas applications have increased by a massive 20%, and next year will see a record 6,000 students from non-European countries enrolling at Scotland's educational establishments.

Friday, March 07, 2024

Edinburgh's Sovereign House bought for 3.75m

Sovereign House in Edinburgh's city centre has been snapped up for 3.75 million, announced Jones Lang LaSalle. GSS Developments (Aberdeen) Ltd has purchased the building in Young Street from Prudential Assurance Company Ltd.

The 12,787 square foot building will undergo a comprehensive refurbishment to take advantage of the rising demand for quality open plan office space in the heart of the Capital.

Neil Tweedie, senior surveyor with Jones Lang LaSalle, which along with Savills acted for GSS Developments (Aberdeen.) Ltd, said: "Sovereign House provides good open plan floor plates of under 5,000 square feet with an excellent on site car parking ratio for a city centre office. With the increasing shortage of high quality open plan office suites under 5,000 square feet within the core city centre, Sovereign House will undoubtedly attract good interest once the comprehensive refurbishment is complete."

McGrigors' Aberdeen office provided legal advice for GSS Developments.

Savills make two promotions in Manchester

Savills directors Peter Mallinder and Oliver Foster have recently taken on the role of joint heads of investment at the company's Manchester office on Fountain Street.

Peter and Oliver's promotion follows previous head of office and investment Mark Ridley's appointment as Chairman of Savills Commercial with effect from 1 January 2008. They will continue to work with Mark, who will service his key clients, but will take full responsibility for the investment teams.

Peter and Oliver have worked in the Manchester investment team for 12 and 11 years respectively.

Both Peter and Oliver have advised on a number of significant schemes in the North including the acquisition and subsequent sale of Central 12 Retail Park in Southport, the acquisition of No 1 Balloon Street in Manchester and the acquisition and sale of Cavendish Retail Park in Liverpool. Key clients include ING, Standard Life, Morley, Stockland Halladale, Lanebridge, Kenmore and Modus.

Howard Morgan, director and head of the Savills Manchester offices, comments: "We are delighted to appoint Peter and Oliver as joint heads of the Manchester investment department. Both have immense experience in the North West market and are very well respected in the industry."

Established in June 1996 the Manchester office has grown from just three people to 135 today. Savills is now one of the most established brands in the property industry throughout the North West. In the last 10 years the annual turnover for the Manchester office has grown from 0.45 million to over 16 million today and the services offered have increased to include commercial investment, retail, residential, industrial agency, office agency, building consultancy, management, development, planning, valuation, healthcare, hotels and Savills Private Finance.

Atisreal sell CEMEX UK's industrial site in Greenock

Atisreal has acted on behalf of CEMEX UK on the sale of their industrial site at 18 Baker Street, Greenock to McGill?s Buses.

The 0.5 acre site, which comprises a former concrete batching plant, generated a lot of interest from property developers and local businesses.

Stephen Cahoon from Atisreal said: "This is a great result for CEMEX and highlights the appetite of local occupiers for well located development opportunities in Greenock."

Atisreal are retained nationally by CEMEX UK and will be marketing further sites for sale throughout 2008.

Opus Land complete refurbishment of Teesside factory site

Work has been completed on a 2.3million refurbishment of the former MFI factory site on Teesside.

Yorkshire-based developers Opus Land have renamed the 360,000 sq ft site Opus Park and have transformed it into a modern, industrial/warehouse complex with unit sizes ranging from 9,300 sq ft to 150,000 sq ft. It is situated in the heart of Stockton's Preston Farm Industrial Estate and is now ready for occupation.

Unit 1A, comprising 30,000 sq ft, has already been sold to Hull-based developers Osprey for 1.25 million. The tenants are MKM Builders. Two further buildings are under offer with strong interest been shown in the remainder of the site.

Opus Land, one of the fastest-growing development and investment companies in the country, bought the 16.5-acre site adjacent to the A66 in September 2006 after MFI announced that it was to close its Stockton factory.

Director Andrew Duncan said: "We are delighted that work has now been completed and the swift sale of Unit 1A is a ringing endorsement of the quality of the development. We have spent 2.3 million on Opus Park, creating 11 high-spec, high-quality units for lease or sale - individually or in multiples to suite occupiers - as well as re-cladding and generally refurbishing the site.

"This has transformed the old MFI factory into a modern industrial and warehousing complex for the 21st century".

Mr Duncan said: "Opus Park is superbly located in the Tees Valley with excellent access to the national motorway network from the A66. It is also close to Durham Tees Valley Airport and Teesport. It suits modern manufacturing and warehousing companies perfectly."

Opus Park is one of the largest available manufacturing sites in the North-East this year and Opus Land is confident the site will continue to prove extremely popular.

Mr Duncan said: "We are in discussions with a number of potential occupiers ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 sq ft right up to 150,000 sq ft. Two deals are now in the hands of solicitors and we expect others to follow."

Jonathan Simpson, at Sanderson Weatherall's Teesside office, said: We are pleased with the interest we are receiving in the scheme, bearing in mind the refurbishment has only just been completed.

"Buildings of this size, nature and prominence very rarely become available in the Teesside area, particularly offering occupiers the chance to purchase. Industrial/ and warehousing opportunities are very limited on Preston Farm and it is relatively unlikely that further opportunities will become available in the foreseeable future," he added.

Wednesday, March 05, 2024

Town Centre Securities win further award for Liverpool mixed use development

Mixed use development pioneers, Town Centre Securities, have received further acclaim as their 250M Piccadilly Basin scheme beat off stiff competition to win the prestigious 'Mixed Use Development of the Year' award at the 2008 North West Property Awards at the ACC, Liverpool.

Earlier this month, the development also received two of Manchester City Council's Built in Quality Awards, the latter a special commendation for environmental sustainability. These latest awards follow on from the 2007 'Mixed Use Award for Excellence' Piccadilly Basin received at the inaugural Property Executive Development Awards.

Development Director for Town Centre Securities, Richard Lewis, says; "To have the dedication and hard work of the team at Piccadilly Basin recognised through awards such as these is fantastic. We are incredibly proud of what we continue to achieve at this unique scheme both in terms of quality of offering and our commitment to the green agenda. 2008 is progressing into an exciting year with Carver's Warehouse now complete, the BDP designed building rapidly following suit and work set to commence on the next phase of the scheme, the Retail Village. "

Halcrow piles into Dundee

Site clearance and piled foundation works at the 25 million Riverside Drive residential development are set to begin next week following successful completion of the site's civil and structural design works, by global multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Halcrow.

Owned by Duncarse Riverside Limited, Riverside Drive will become a gateway development within the heart of Dundee.

Jamie Baxter, regional director for Halcow, is pleased to see the project come to fruition, stating: "This is the first major building project we've worked on in Dundee and as such are naturally delighted to have been appointed for such a landmark development."

After carrying out pre-planning works which include an environmental desk study, ground investigation works, conceptual and outline designs, liaison with statutory authorities, and production of a sustainable storm water drainage scheme, Halcrow is happy that construction of the works can begin in earnest. 202 apartments, built in five separate blocks of between seven to nine storeys, are to be completed in phases between autumn 2009 and summer 2011.

Leading Halcrow's civil and structural design team, senior engineer Gary Farquhar explained: "We have adopted post tensioned concrete floors which is an increasingly popular form of construction within the UK. Making the floors thinner, lighter and stronger tends to result in lighter foundations which generate cost savings for the client. We have also adopted pre-cast concrete columns which will be constructed as individual units and dropped into place as part of the main construction works, allowing a streamlined and accelerated construction process."

Gary Farquhar continues: "We've utilised state-of-the-art analysis, design and draughting software to meet the particular challenges posed by the Riverside Drive development. Whilst a high level of engineering skill is required, the software allows the building to be constructed 'virtually' as a 3D frame assisting the engineering team in visualising the designs as well as observing how the individual structural elements interact. This technology also allows us to readily change designs and explore alternative options without resorting to a full 'ground up' redesign. Ultimately this holistic approach results in a more efficient and economical building."

Richard McLaren, development manager with Duncarse, added: "We appointed Halcrow based on its strong industry reputation and its 'can-do' attitude. It successfully met the demands of a challenging programme and we look forward to progressing the project and to working with Halcrow in the future."

Sheffield United kick on with business and training centre

Sheffield United has passed a strategic milestone in the road to hosting a flagship business, learning and training centre in the city.

The club will build a business and learning centre including classrooms, accommodation for start-up business and state of the art football training facilities on land next to the club's Shirecliffe Football Academy after councillors approved planning permission this week.

One floor of the three storey building will be home to the National Skills Academy Sports and Active Leisure Hub for Yorkshire and Humberside - initially one of only three in the country.

The business centre, located on the second floor, will be operated along similar lines to existing business centres at the Academy and Bramall Lane while the ground floor will provide a state of the art facility for the football club including rehabilitation, treatment and changing facilities.

Approval for funding from various bodies is due over the next couple of months before United can start work on the 20,000sq ft development which includes 90 car park spaces.

Sheffield United's head of property, John Stacey, said: "This is the first step in a complex process. The scheme, which will incorporate accommodation for start up businesses, learning facilities and upgraded football training facilities, is still subject to grant funding which we are currently in the process of securing.

"This is a great opportunity for us to build on existing and successful community and education programmes and provide further opportunities for long term returns for Sheffield United."

United staged an Open Day in January at their Academy in Shirecliffe to allow the community to view the plans, including images of the development and to answer any questions they had about the proposal.

Following funding approval, the club plans to start work on site this summer, with completion targeted for Spring 2009.

Gladedale Capital has appoints DTZ Hospitality Group to Quartermile

The opportunity to create a luxury boutique hotel at the heart of the stunning Quartermile development in Edinburgh has hit the market.

Work to transform two B listed buildings, which date from circa 1900 and which were originally designed by architect Sydney Mitchell & Wilson, will shortly commence on the former site of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Developer Gladedale Capital has appointed DTZ Hospitality Group to handle the sale of the hotel, which is expected to generate significant interest.

Colin MacPherson, Director at Gladedale Capital said: "Quartermile is now really taking shape and the addition of a hotel to the site demonstrates we are delivering on our pledge to transform the site into a true mixed-use development.

"This is an exciting opportunity for a luxury hotel operator to become a part of this fantastic redevelopment project.

"Quartermile is already proving popular with businesses, retailers and residents and a new hotel on site will ensure visitors from all over the world will now start to flock to the site."

The hotel is expected to open for business by summer 2010.

Richard Candey at DTZ Hospitality Group commented: "We have already observed significant interest for this opportunity, which demonstrates the great appetite for such investments, particularly in such a strong hotel market as Edinburgh.

"The scheme's quality and central location are key drivers for success."

The marketing of the boutique hotel comes hot on the heels of some significant activity at Quartermile.

High Street retail giants Sainsbury's and Starbucks have just agreed to take space at the development. These lettings come in the wake of the first retail tenant, Swedish baker Peter?s Yard, opening for business in November last year.

Meanwhile, the first residents have recently moved into Quartermile. More than 150 luxury apartments were sold in advance of the launch last year.

This latest development at Quartermile complements the 107 unit aparthotel on the site which will be operated as a Citadines by the Singapore-based Ascott Group once construction is concluded in late 2009.

Once completed in 2012, Quartermile will feature over 300,000 sq ft of premium office space, over 55,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, more than 900 new and converted modern apartments and seven acres of landscaped gardens and public space.

Quartermile is a joint venture between Gladedale, one of UK's largest private property development and housebuilding groups and Bank of Scotland Corporate.

Developer KW Linfoot offers WhizzGo pay-by-the-hour cars in Leeds

City living developer KW Linfoot Plc is providing a sustainable alternative to car ownership for occupiers at its award winning Bridgewater Place scheme in Leeds through collaboration with WhizzGo pay-by-the-hour cars.

This unique partnership means that both businesses and residents at Bridgewater Place can have the use of a car whenever they need one without the costs associated with owning one. The user pays by the hour, therefore only pays for what they use. With no running costs to pay, a car can be hired for around 4.95 an hour providing a very cost effective solution.

Of course the ideal location of Bridgewater Place, at the junction of Neville Street and Water Lane is less than five minutes from the station, meaning occupiers can benefit from excellent public transport connections as well as being within walking distance from most of the city's conveniences. However, most people do need the use of a car from time to time. The Bridgewater Citroen C1, one of the lowest emission cars on the road with CO2 emissions of just 109g/km, is now available in the underground car park at Bridgewater Place to serve that purpose.

Chris Hildreth, Construction Director at KW Linfoot Plc comments: "We are delighted to be able to offer another innovative service to the businesses and residents at Bridgewater Place. Everyone knows that car parking is limited at city centre developments and our partnership with this eco-friendly car club means that residents can have doorstep convenience and be environmentally conscientious but with all of the pleasure of using a car without the hassle."

All users must register with WhizzGo before they can use a car and pay a fully refundable insurance deposit. A smart card is issued so any WhizzGo car can be booked online or over the phone. At the time of booking, the smart card will unlock the car and the user types a pin number into the on-board computer which will release the keys in the passenger glove box. Cars can be booked and accessed within minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

If the car at Bridgewater Place is already booked at the time it is needed, then members are able to use any of the more than 30 other WhizzGo cars in Leeds. The closest ones are at the Round Foundry (off Water Lane) or Sovereign Street (behind the station).

King Sturge to advise Thomas Cook

King Sturge has been appointed by Thomas Cook UK & Ireland as its principal property consultant to provide lease consultancy and agency advice for the UK retail portfolio, together with a property management service. A building consultancy service will also be provided as and when required.

King Sturge was successful following a re-tendering process initiated by Thomas Cook UK in December and involving a number of the UK's major property consultancies. The contract is expected to commence with effect from 1st March 2008.

Ken Frew, Scottish Building Consultancy Partner, said: "We are delighted to have been selected by Thomas Cook UK & Ireland. We are well acquainted with the business, having recently acquired the Leslie Furness business, which had advised Thomas Cook for the past nine years. Together with our new colleagues from Leslie Furness, King Sturge is able to deliver a full range of services across the UK which is a key consideration for our new client."

Andrew Potter, Head of Estates at Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, commented: "Following an in-depth review of potential service providers, we have awarded the contract to King Sturge as we believe they offer the right balance of expertise and coverage to assist us with the efficient management of our property estate."

Thomas Cook operates circa 812 retail units including 120 bureaus de change across the UK and throughout Ireland.