Acquired whilst in-house at Hansteen, the office complex sits within Bristol’s premier business park, which is home to over 100 occupiers.
The property comprises 2 high profile landmark office buildings, split across 8 lettable units. At the time of acquisition in late 2011, there was a high vacancy rate with further lease expiries looming. The vacant units were in need of refurbishment, so a staggered refurbishment strategy was put in place. After appointing a building surveying team to project manage and produce the specification, a tender process began to select the contractor, to ensure competitive prices were obtained. Following this process, work began on the first 13,000 sq ft, which was split over 2 floors. The refurbishment provided new raised access floors and suspended ceilings with new lighting and comfort cooling. New toilet and shower facilities were installed with the older redundant wet heating systems removed. The finished product provided a high quality finish, at an economical rate. The rents were re-based on the quality of the refurbished product, but pitched competitively in a market with a plethora of competition. During the first phase of the refurbishment, an agreement for lease with a blue chip tenant was signed for the first 6,500 sq ft, with the remaining space let shortly after the refurbishment. Phase 2 began shortly after on the next 10,000 sq ft, with all of the space either pre-let or under offer before the refurbishment finished. Phase 3 addressed the final 13,000 sq ft, with 6,500 sq ft again pre-let before completion of the project.
Located within one of South Wales’s premier industrial estates, which Willowford asset manage, the subject unit totals 4,810 sq ft.
The let unit had a lease in place, with approximately 12 months left to run, with the existing tenant not in occupation, with a desire to surrender the lease. Surrender negotiations began, in conjunction with an assessment of the re-letting prospects of the unit. Terms were agreed for a lease surrender, with the outgoing tenant providing a surrender premium to cover rent, service charge, insurance, business rates to lease expiry, along with a full dilapidations settlement. Separate negotiations were run in parallel with an interested party, to take a new lease on the property, with agreed Heads of Terms following soon after. The lease surrender completed with a full surrender premium paid to our landlord client on completion. A small refurbishment project followed to include new roof lights and a roof treatment system (with 10 year guarantee), warehouse and office repairs and re-decoration. The unit was subsequently re-let on a new 10 year term, at a higher rent, to a better covenant, with all refurbishment costs and rent free periods covered by the surrender premium from the outgoing tenant.
Appointed in January 2015, on behalf of one of the UKs largest owners of Industrial property, Willowford adopted a pro-active and hands on approach to deliver results quickly.
Following the initial instruction, a comprehensive site survey was undertaken to establish the optimum letting strategy for the estate, given the high vacancy rate. Along with meeting all of the current tenants to discuss their developing business needs, we reviewed the dynamics of the local market to ensure we pitched the available units at the correct rents, and on the appropriate lease terms. Working closely with the appointed letting agents, and drawing on our local contacts and knowledge, we managed to secure a string of occupiers in a short space of time, reducing the void dramatically. The profile of the estate was improved with a refreshed marketing strategy, with the lettings boosting the income, and adding value to the clients' portfolio.
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