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Vail Williams

Location trumps rent when choosing commercial premises, according to a survey of Midlands businesses conducted by Insider and sponsored by property experts Vail Williams.

Organisations are willing to pay for the right facilities, revealed the research, which gathered insight from office, manufacturing and distribution occupiers.

That preference is significant because it was also revealed nearly one-in-three (30 per cent) want to move to new premises in the next two years.

The office sector is the most restless, with more than 30 per cent wanting to relocate. Building quality and parking overcame rent considerations, with a shift in popularity from city centre to out-of-town space, plus bigger offices increasingly in favour.

This sector may face a challenge from the diminishing supply of office accommodation, although 40 per cent of those seeking to move want purpose-built facilities.

Manufacturing businesses put a property’s transport links and availability of staff above rent. For distribution, rent was also surpassed by building suitability, including eaves height and future flexibility.

Vail Williams Partner Carole Taylor said: “Our research shows companies are now thinking beyond short term rent costs and recognizing that investing in the right infrastructure and location of a building is key to their growth whereas historically rent had been the main determining factor.

“However, there remain obstacles to finding the right property. Our team of expert advisors is here to help, whatever the challenge.”

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Commenting on news of HSBC’s proposed move to Birmingham for its UK headquarters, Carole Taylor, Partner at commercial property consultancy Vail Williams, said: “HSBC’s planned move follows Deutsche Bank’s expansion here over the past few years. It shows again that Birmingham is attracting heavyweight international banking names which see the city’s potential as a financial hub.

“London may be the world capital in banking and finance, but our regional cities – especially those in the Midlands and North – are increasingly attractive options for the major players. Key benefits include grade A office space, improving infrastructure, and the quality of life and cost of living to attract and retain top talent.

“The inward investment and employment opportunities from HSBC’s move are very exciting for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region.”

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A £2 million facelift of offices at Albany House in the heart of Birmingham is further fuelling the city centre’s redevelopment.

About 17,000 square feet of office space is available over a number of suites at the premises in Hurst Street which is being fitted with modern cladding and double glazing due for completion in summer 2015 following the contemporary refurbishment of internal common areas last year.

Work on the offices, which are being let through commercial property experts Vail Williams, coincides with numerous redevelopment schemes in the city including the multi-million-pound redevelopments of nearby New Street Station and Eastside Locks, and represents further investment in rejuvenating the city centre.

The facelift to Albany House, which contains 52,000 square feet of office space across 11 storeys, will add to its qualities as a highly desirable business base with higher efficiency and competitive rents.

The location is within walking distance of Moor Street and New Street railway stations, as well as the Bull Ring Shopping Centre.

Vail Williams Senior Surveyor Steven Bott said: “Albany House is an excellent business location and this £2 million investment is going to make it even more attractive to companies looking to arrive and expand in Birmingham.

“When you consider the improvements to Albany House in the context of the wider city centre, it’s another clear signal of an area very much on the up.”

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Partners at commercial property firm Vail Williams have appointed Matthew Samuel-Camps as its new chief executive.  Ian Rudland, the firm’s current CEO, is stepping down after 17 years at the helm, as part of the firm’s continued development and succession planning.  Ian will continue as a Partner in the business.

Ian Rudland commented, “I have thoroughly enjoyed leading Vail Williams as its CEO, since 1997.  Leading the firm as it has grown from strength to strength has been a great experience and I am now looking forward to continuing to work with clients and helping to deliver continued growth in our business.  At the same time, I will be working to support Matthew in his new role.”

Commenting on his appointment as chief executive, Matthew Samuel-Camps said, “I am honoured to have been asked to lead the firm as it enters an exciting period in its development.  After a tough period, the property market is gaining in confidence and Vail Williams is well placed to continue to take advantage of that renewal.  I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in the firm, to build on the considerable success we have had over the years and our focus on outstanding client service.”

Samuel-Camps added, “Ian’s leadership has made a huge contribution to the success of Vail Williams over very many years.  I’m delighted that he is continuing as part of the equity partnership team, taking the business forward.”

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In excess of 20 jobs are set to be created in Thatcham, near Newbury, when a leading US telescope manufacturer arrives in the UK in a deal brokered by commercial property experts at Vail Williams.

US-owned Celestron LLC, a market leading producer of telescopes, binoculars and microscopes, has taken a 10-year lease over 38,000 square feet of hi-spec warehouse space at the well-placed Transigo complex just off the A4, with convenient access to the nearby M4 and Southampton port.

The deal with Celestron was settled in a collaboration between Vail Williams and its property client, Caisson Investment Management, who oversees the Transigo site.

The state-of-the-art premises will be the administrative, storage and distribution base for Celestron’s expanding Global Business Development Operations outside of North America – with the prospect of further local employment growth to come.

A second agreement at the site has also been reached through joint agents Sharps Commercial with Busby Metals, a US-based specialist manufacturer of copper-based alloys. It is taking up 18,000 square feet as part of an expansion move from Theale, West Berkshire.

The overall 80,000 square feet of space now taken up at Transigo by Celestron and Busby Metals had remained vacant since the building was completed just before the 2008 credit crunch.

But after the premises came under new ownership last year, Vail Williams advised on its division. Once split, the property has immediately found occupiers.

Vail Williams Associate Charlie Nicholson commented: “As well as bringing new jobs and investment into the area, these two deals show how demand for commercial property is rising – which is a very positive signal for the local economy.

“We were very pleased that our advice helped to attract two major businesses to the area. It illustrates how getting the right commercial property expertise can play an important role in unlocking growth and development.”

Mark Bowden, Director at Caisson Investment Management, added: “We’re delighted to bring two major brands from the US into the region. Businesses can clearly see the connections and high quality facilities that make Thatcham such a welcoming location.”

Dave Murray, Celestron’s Senior Vice President – International Business Development, said: “Establishing an international business headquarters and European distribution centre outside of the USA for the first time is a very exciting and dynamic move for Celestron, and with a building of such high specification, good transport and communication links, we’re confident this will help us to implement our strategic growth plans across our global network of distribution partners.”

Caisson Investment Management are represented by Vail Williams, Sharps Commercial and Deal Varney.

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The government’s expansion of Growth Deal funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) has been welcomed by commercial property experts at Vail Williams as an important boost to transport and business capacity.

In the south-east an extra £35.8 million has been invested in the Coast to Capital LEP between 2016 and 2021 on top of the £202.4 million of funding committed by the Government in July 2014.

The Solent LEP has had its original £124.8 million allocated for the region expanded to £151.9 million.

Peter Sudworth, Vail Williams Head of Valuation at its Gatwick office, reacted to the Coast to Capital LEP’s funding growth: “This significant injection of money from the government is a powerful boost for the infrastructure that our region’s jobs, investment and trade depend on.

“Our knowledge of the area suggests that there will be a particular welcome to improvements at Gatwick to the train services. In recent weeks Sussex commuter services have come under press scrutiny due to severe pressure from increased passenger numbers.

“Away from Gatwick, the continuing development of Burgess Hill is crucial to the Sussex economy. At Vail Williams we are actively involved with the delivery of 55, 741 square metres (600,000 square feet) of commercial space at the HUB Burgess Hill. The road improvements announced will help sustain the area as a commercial centre.”

Mr Sudworth added: “This extra Growth Plan investment also coincides with public consultation for the South East Airports Commission coming to an end. We look forward to a clear decision being made in the summer months following the general election.”

From Vail Williams’ Solent region, Partner Martin Tice added: “This extra investment is very welcome. Through working with our clients and our knowledge of the local area, we understand the progress that is possible in the Solent region through the Growth Deal.

“In particular, the £25 million allocated for a new National Maritime Centre of Excellence in Portsmouth will be a major boost for jobs and strengthen the maritime heritage in the city.

“Also, the £15.8 million over several years for the transport project to improve access to the Solent Enterprise Centre in Gosport will help to overcome the significant road access issues into the town. The £2.6 million for new technology to bring the motorway and local road system together is another welcome initiative.”

He also said: “I hope this extra money doesn’t mean that anyone thinks the job is done, however. David Cameron has set his sights on ‘full employment’ in the economy – but with the road infrastructure in the region already under severe pressure at peak times we’ll need more investment to help meet this goal.

“In addition, the rail link between Portsmouth and Southampton is in urgent need of investment to improve the journey time between the two cities and encourage people to choose rail over car.”

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Commercial property expert Vail Williams has welcomed a new Partner with nearly two decades’ experience to its Heathrow office.

Matt Clarke arrives at the company’s expanding base with a CV that includes a divisional directorship and 18 years of working in the commercial property sector.

He will be responsible for assisting clients with the acquisition and disposal of all types of commercial property in the Heathrow, Home Counties and Thames Valley region, and will also be part of the substantial business space team in Thames Valley

His experience includes a divisional directorship for a regional firm of chartered surveyors which focused on commercial property disposals across the UK but particularly in the M40 corridor and Thames Valley.

A highlight of Matt’s past successes was the acquisition of 47,500 square feet of office space for a pharmaceutical brand in Middlesex. He also has under his belt a string of business park lettings, brokering both office and industrial premises for institutional clients.

Vail Williams Partner Kevin Cook said: “Matt’s successful approach to commercial property is driven by his considerable experience in advising occupiers and landlords alike and having an in-depth knowledge of the regional market..

“Having Matt as another Partner to join our Heathrow office is a great addition to the expert services we offer. It shows how clients can be assured of knowledgeable and senior staff dealing directly with the property.

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A new laboratory and office base deal has been brokered by commercial property experts Vail Williams at The University of Southampton Science Park for an expanding international safety testing company.

It was the second biggest office letting in the Southampton area during 2014 and will see Chilworth Technology Ltd – which began 30 years ago in a single room at nearby Chilworth Manor – taking up 16,600 square feet of office and laboratory space at Phi House.

The premises have been taken back to a shell as part of a multi -million refit to install improved electrical systems and more effective insulation, heating and air conditioning.

The new accommodation will also be equipped with a whole new laboratory wing, almost doubling the capacity of the facility for process safety testing compared to Beta House, Chilworth Technology Ltd’s current base, which it has outgrown.

The new lease at Phi House is for 10 years and Chilworth Technology Ltd will take up residence in March. The company has been at the Science Park for the last 25 years.

Andy Gibbs, Vail Williams Associate, Business Space, said: “This is an excellent result for all parties, helping to unlock business growth and development. We’re very pleased our expertise and knowledge helped to bring them together.

“The deal shows that there is a lot of economic strength in this area which can be nurtured and encouraged with the right kind of commercial property arrangements to create jobs and investment.”

Vail Williams worked to broker the deal between its client, The University of Southampton Science Park, and Chilworth Technology Ltd and its agent BNP Paribas.

Chilworth Technology Ltd has pioneered process safety in the UK while sharing its testing, consulting and training expertise worldwide.

Headquartered in the UK, the company has branches in the USA, Italy, France, Spain and India, with laboratories in Southampton, Princeton in the US, and Shanghai.

Stephen Rowe, managing director of Chilworth Technology Ltd, said: “This move will enable us to increase our testing and consulting capacity to support our continued growth in a modern, purpose built, state-of-the-art facility.”

“Our parent company, DEKRA, is fully behind us and we are delighted to have their backing for the next phase of our evolution. Our choice to remain on the Science Park endorses the fact that the Science Park environment fits our brand exceptionally well. The new facilities that are being created at Phi House tick all the boxes.”

Peter Birkett, CEO of The University of Southampton Science Park, said: “It’s always a pleasure to see Science Park companies achieve such significant growth. Chilworth Technology is a great example of a small start-up that has grown into a significant force whilst on the park.”

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Acting on behalf of Glenmore Commercial Estates Ltd, Goadsby have already agreed sales on 5 units at the new Glenmore Business Park, Fancy Road in Poole.

Units 1-12 are the first phase and it is anticipated that they will be ready for occupation in the last quarter of 2015.

James Edwards, Divisional Director commented “It has been an excellent start to the marketing campaign with 5 sales already agreed.”  James continued “The scheme provides occupiers and investors with an excellent opportunity to purchase a unit with a high specification at an affordable lot size.”

Each unit extends to approximately 1,000 sq ft and the price per unit is £145,000 plus VAT.

Vail Williams are acting as joint agents.

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Commercial property expert Vail Williams has welcomed Department for Transport plans to upgrade the M4 into a ‘smart motorway’ from junctions 3 to 12,

The company, which has its Thames Valley headquarters in the M4 corridor, speaks with years’ worth of experience of working with clients across the region and beyond. The short-term pain of road works is well worth the long-term gain of economic development, said Vail Williams partner Kevin Cook.

In a formal response to the Highways Agency consultation ‘M4 junctions 3-12 smart motorway’, he explained: “Our Thames Valley headquarters is in the M4 corridor – at Thames Valley Park, Reading – so we know first-hand the problems that are caused when the motorway gets congested. It has reached capacity and that’s why we welcome this upgrade plan.

“Improving traffic flow and reducing the pressure on this major route is now a necessity both for commuters and businesses. Rush hour is the worst, obviously, but the motorway now regularly struggles to cope with the volume of traffic even during less busy times – and this harms trade.

“We see the economic impact of the M4’s regular congestion through our own experience and advising our many clients. Upgrading the M4 will help build a network ready for long-term development, growth and to attract businesses west from London, as well as giving better access to Heathrow – one of the world’s busiest airports.

“There is likely to be some short term pain while the road works are completed. Already, construction at junctions 8/9 and 10 has increased congestion, so we would like to see further details – such as whether the upgrade will be handled in phases or not.

“Despite concern over the impact of the road works, however, we support the long term economic opportunities and commercial gain from bringing the M4 back to being fully fit for purpose. It will be a boost for drivers, workers, residents and businesses.”