Major Refurbishment of Sea Front Office Building. Aquila House
Following the successful settlement of the Landlords Dilapidations claim in the summer of 2013 for £1.1m, Brasier Freeth’s Project Management team were retained to design, specify, procure and supervise the building refurbishment whilst simultaneously providing similar services to the Tenant (Hastings Borough Council) for their CAT B office fit-out over 6 floors.
Extensive consultation with specialist suppliers was required specifically for the re-roofing, south facing windows and insulated render installations. The sea front location and previous issues with water ingress to the roof and front façade led to a complex design requiring a bespoke specification.
Brasier Freeth’s Project Management team delivered the works under budget, securing a new tenancy for the upper floors of the building under a 10 year full repairing insuring lease, enhancing the value of the property, whilst significantly improving the aesthetic appearance and performance.
As well as this, the Tenant was provided with a fully refurbished building, complying with current regulations and received a vastly enhanced working office environment for staff including a new Meeting Floor and Council Chamber.
Client: Aberdeen Standard
Location: St Albans
Services: Acquisition and marketing
Air Business Plc had grown significantly whilst a tenant at The Merlin Centre, eventually occupying 3 of the 5 units, all of which they modified quite extensively to suit their business as it evolved, to the point where they simply outgrew the estate and had to move to accommodate their growth. The option arose to have a unit constructed to their specific requirements on The Hatfield Business Park and this then left their Landlord at The Merlin Centre with the opportunity to carry out a comprehensive refurbishment of not only the vacated units, but also the external elements of all units on the estate and the common parts. It was universally agreed that these works would significantly lift the estate and assist in re-positioning it in the local industrial market.
Most obviously, all elevations were treated and then re-sprayed in a more contemporary shade of grey, further enhanced with a contrasting darker shade for all capping details and window frames, and in addition new, electric loading doors were installed. The end result was an estate with an altogether more modern feel. Internally the units were stripped back to their original base specification which entailed the removal of significant mezzanine floors previously use for storage, processing and office purposes. The office elements were re-carpeted and redecorated and new ceilings with motion sensitive LED lighting installed. All WC’s were completely re-fitted with new sanitary wear, new floor coverings and wall tiling, resulting in a quite remarkable transformation.
COVID then reared it’s head, but with the changes that this brought to the distribution market the first letting was perhaps unsurprisingly to Hermes who took Unit 5 (7,800 sqft) , followed quite swiftly by CEVA Distribution taking Unit 4 (16,000 sqft) and most recently GFS Flex, a Turkish owned manufacturer of gas fittings taking Unit 2 (9,000 sqft), completing a healthy hattrick.
Client Name: Mothercare
Location: Hemel Hempstead
Services: Acquisition and relocation letting
Having sold the Mothercare HQ in 2018 on a sale and lease back basis we were approached in late 2019 by the company which was at that point in administration to advise them on new offices.
What we did
We canvassed the area, identified a number of options that could accommodate both elements of the requirement and shortlisted a number that could have worked well.
Ultimately the best option was one we had flagged from the start in the form of tenant space at Westside, Kings Langley. Here we were able to negotiate for our client to take fully fitted space at a highly competitive rental and rent free package, on very flexible terms. The ancillary space required was carved out of the ground floor for our clients and was also leased on competitive terms. Additionally we identified over flow parking and agreed terms for extra parking to meet our clients requirements.
We were able to identify this option as being available and the best fit as a consequence of our unique knowledge of the market in this location and our unrivalled building specific knowledge (we had originally let the space).
Client Name: Private Fund
Services: Advisor to fund, Rent Reviews, Marketing of office space
Brasier Freeth has advised the major fund that owns Trinity Court for many years, dealing with the marketing of office suites and floors, as voids have occurred, and conducted rent reviews as they have become due. Trinity Court is a purpose built office building of some 26,600 sqft arranged over ground and three upper floors that was constructed in the late 1980’s. It lies on the southern fringe of Rickmansworth town centre and sits in a particularly attractive position adjacent to the River Colne.
The building was beginning to show it’s age in certain areas and in discussion with us and our joint agents, the decision was taken by our clients to carry out a carefully considered refurbishment programme to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding market place, and to maintain the buildings position in the local and wider regional market.
What we did
In consultation with our clients, their building surveyors and our joint agents, agreement was reached to refurbish and reconfigure the common areas, with reception being comprehensively re-configured with new, contemporary floor, wall and ceiling finishes. This served to improve the space significantly from what was previously a rather outdated and functional feature. New furniture and improved signage was installed to create a more welcoming space, along with selected pieces of artwork. Within the common areas, the WC’s to each floor were also completely refurbished, with these being re-configured to provide individual cubicles, each with its own washing facilities. Furthermore, shower facilities were provided to each floor, along with an improved disabled facility.
These works “lifted” the common areas hugely and as a result 2020/2021 saw a series of successful lettings being concluded, despite the enormous challenges posed to the office market by the COVID pandemic.
Client Name: Tritax Symmetry
Location: Aston Clinton
Services: Development Project and Leasehold disposals
Brasier Freeth were instructed as agents to advise on the Development Project and Leasehold disposals of Tritax Symmetry, Aston Clinton.
What we did
A pro-active marketing campaign identified good covenants ensuring that the average void is less than 3 months. The location south of Aylesbury is now established as a value for money location within an easy commute of London.
The site comprises 46 acres and is fully serviced with roads and utilities including a substantial power supply available to the site.
Phase 1 which was a speculative build is now complete.
Unit 1 – 83,000 Sq.ft, was let under construction to Global Infusion Group.
Unit 2 – 56,000 Sq.ft was let within 3 months of practical completion to Apple/ MBS.
Unit 3 – 112,000 Sq.ft was let within 3 months of PC to Apple / MBS.
Phase 2 planning consent has now been granted for 3 high quality logistics / industrial units, construction starts in June 2021, with practical completion due Q1 2022.
Unit 4 – 86,000 Sq.ft under offer. Office content to be varied. Total size of unit 96,000 Sq.ft.
Unit 5 – 184,000 Sq.ft. Speculative build.
Unit 6 – 115,000 Sq.ft. Speculative build.
” I have known the team at Brasier Freeth for the best part of 25 years and have always found them responsive, professional and effective. They are a key part of our agency team on our flagship 650,000 Sq.ft scheme at Aston Clinton. ” Christian Matthews
Client Name: Prologis
Location: Hemel Hempstead
Services: Development Project and Leasehold disposals
Brasier Freeth were instructed as agents to advise on the Development Project and Leasehold disposals of Prologis Park, Hemel Hempstead.
What we did
We have been instrumental is the success of this award winning strategic Southern M1 corridor logistics park. The original park has now grown to 45 acres at junction 8 of the M1 motorway.
The quality buildings, a landscaped park, a proactive client, and granular agency knowledge has delivered prime product in a market with limited supply.
A Grade A industrial/distribution building in a premier logistics location strategically placed on the southern M1 corridor ideally placed to serve London and the Midlands. Prologis construct buildings of exceptional quality as evidenced by the first phase of Prologis Park, Hemel Hempstead.
”The Brasier Freeth team live and breathe commercial property. They have excellent in-depth market knowledge of the town and wider region and great relationships across a range of stakeholders from landlowners to developers to occupiers and the public sector”. Paul Weston
Client Name: Next Group PLC
Services: Lease advisory, lease renewals
Our Lease Advisory Team was instructed by Next Group PLC to negotiate a new lease on their store in Brentwood. The store was too small for their requirements and with a potential relocation in mind (which was a development situation with a 2/3 year timeframe until delivery) the Next board required a 3-year tenant break in each of the new leases. Initial discussions commenced between Next’s in-house surveyor and the 3 landlords’ representatives. However, the landlords refused to agree on the tenant break at the expiry of the third year of the term.
Next, therefore, instructed Brasier Freeth to negotiate a new 5-year lease with a tenant break at the end of year 3 of the term for each of the 3 new leases.
The Next Brentwood store had been put together over the years by combining 3 adjoining shop units to create a store of circa 475 sq m on 2 levels. The store was now owned by three different landlords who were liaising together on the lease renewal. Negotiations were, therefore, more complex than usual and required reaching an agreement with each landlord on every term of the lease or issue that arose throughout the negotiations and the legal process.
When negotiations commenced all 3 landlords were opposed to the 3-year tenant break and required either a straight 5-year lease or preferably a 10-year lease with a 5-year tenant only break clause.
Following various discussions, some of the landlords suggested they would consider a 3-year break but linked to an enhanced rent or penalty payment. This was not acceptable to our client.
This transaction required an enormous amount of perseverance and patience throughout the process. Each point that arose as a potential issue involved three lots of discussions, negotiation, persuasion and ultimately agreement.
Eventually after protracted negotiations over the course of almost a year and with the threat of Court looming, one of the landlords agreed to grant the 3-year tenant only break without any form of penalty. After further negotiations with the remaining landlords, both eventually agreed to a tenant only break at the expiry of year 3 and agreement on all other terms swiftly followed.
The leases were finally concluded almost a year after we were instructed to commence negotiations and as the timing of their relocation has subsequently been delayed we continue to assist our client re-negotiating the expiry date of the break clause to the 4th year of the term.
Client: Watford Borough Council
Location: Ascot Road, Watford
Services: Valuations, lease advisory including lease re-gearing/ restructuring, development consultancy
Brasier Freeth was initially engaged by Watford Borough Council to provide valuation advice on lease re-gearing matters relating to a twelve-acre development site.
The site, located at the gateway to Croxley Green Business Park and Watford Business Park, comprised the former Sun Printers large printing site which in more recent years had been used as a Royal Mail sorting office.
Having vacated the site, Royal Mail sold their 42-year leasehold interest in the 12-acre site to Morrison Supermarkets Plc. Morrisons proposed development of a large supermarket of some 73,000 sq ft on approximately 6 acres of the site.
As the freehold owners, Watford Borough Council was keen to see a comprehensive development of the site to include the provision of a new two-form entry junior school.
Complex negotiations on the lease restructuring took eighteen months and culminated in a new 250-year lease at a peppercorn ground rent on 6 acres of the overall site for a new supermarket. In addition, other leasehold interests were structured allowing the release of a 1.70-acre site for a much needed new junior school. Brasier Freeth negotiated long leasehold terms on the school site with Herts County Council. The remaining 4.3 acres of land is the subject of phase 2 negotiations to re-gear another long leasehold interest, which will then allow redevelopment of this gateway site adjacent to the proposed new station in Ascot Road. The new station is part of the Croxley Rail Link, a major infrastructure project linking the Metropolitan rail line to Watford Junction Station.
Having concluded the lease restructuring, the supermarket was constructed and started trading in late 2013 and the junior school completed in June 2015.
For the local community, the site has seen significant regeneration, the supermarket has brought much-needed employment to the area and the addition of a new school has been welcomed by the residents.
Brasier Freeth’s involvement on behalf of Watford Borough Council resulted in an initial proposal from Morrisons to re-gear the lease being more than doubled to a significant multi-million pound sum payable to Watford Borough Council.
As well as negotiating much better terms for lease restructuring, we were also extensively involved in the development documentation to ensure that Watford Borough Council’s interests were protected at every stage by allowing for various potential scenarios of non-performance by the parties and alternative development situations in the future.
Location: North West London
Services: Site acquisition, planning and development consultancy
Our team has acted for Travelodge for over ten years, searching for potential sites for possible development across North West London. Travelodge is the UK’s second-largest hotel brand and, in London, the brand with the most bedrooms.
Brasier Freeth introduced a prime opportunity to Travelodge in the heart of Wembley. Our Agents conducted extensive negotiations with the developer and agreed on detailed Heads of Terms for a pre-let of a new hotel built to Travelodge’s specification.
Once terms for the deal were agreed, Brasier Freeth continued to represent Travelodge throughout the legal conveyance, liaising with our clients, the developer and consultants, in order to ensure a successful outcome on Travelodge’s behalf.
Following a £6.5M investment, Travelodge opened its new 86 bedroom hotel in Wembley Town Centre. The facility sits directly above the rail station within St Modwen’s £90 million mixed-use Wembley Central Development, comprising 155 apartments, retail facilities and a multi-storey car park in addition to the hotel.
This is one of a number of new hotels for Travelodge as they aim to grow their UK estate to 50,000 rooms by 2020, including 5,000 rooms (60 hotels) in London.
Brasier Freeth continues to support this leading hotel chain’s ambitious plans searching for potential sites or buildings for conversion across North West London.
Client: Foot Locker
Services: Retail acquisitions, disposals, lease advisory and building surveying.
Foot Locker is an internationally renowned brand with 2500 stores worldwide & 74 stores in the UK. Brasier Freeth was first appointed by the global sportswear retailer in January 2011 to help them with their property search in new priority locations.
Our first deal came in June 2011 with the opening of a new store in Liverpool. This was followed by an urgent relocation in Croydon. Since these early instructions, Brasier Freeth has acquired a number of new stores for our client in prime locations including Leeds Metro Centre, Brent Cross, Bull Ring and Lakeside. We were also responsible for the acquisition of the first Kids Foot Locker store in the UK in Westfield, Stratford. Following the success of this store, we secured the second store for Foot Locker Kids in Manchester. Going forward, we continue to search for potential stores for our client in all major retail destinations across the UK.
In addition to our Agency role, Brasier Freeth now looks after all the Foot Locker property work in the UK including disposals, re-gears, relocations, professional lease advisory work, building surveying and consultancy.
With Brasier Freeth as their retained retail agents, our client benefits from a personalised service from a partner within the Practice who is on hand to work with their team to support their growth plans.
Client Name: Compass Contract Services Ltd
Location: Stone, Staffordshire
Services: Building surveys, pre-acquisition leasehold advice on future dilapidations liabilities, advice with leasehold acquisition liability
Brasier Freeth’s Building Surveying Team was instructed by our client to undertake pre-acquisition leasehold surveys of a Training & Conference Centre in Staffordshire. This instruction was an emergency for the Client who negotiated the acquisition of the facility but, as part of the deal, the Client had to complete the transaction within a very short time frame.
Our client, Compass Contract Services Ltd, is a subsidiary of Compass Group UK – the world’s leading foodservice and support services organisation, offering contract catering and facilities management.
Compass was proposing to acquire the lease of Yarnfield Park, one of the largest conference and training facilities in the UK. Our Building Surveyors were called upon to undertake a detailed appraisal of the 80-acre site in the heart of the Midlands.
The Team undertook building surveys of 25 conference and training spaces, a sports centre and 338 bedroom accommodation blocks.
The facility had an interesting history with some of the accommodation dating back to the 1930’s, having served as hostels for workers of the nearby Cold Meece munitions factory. Over the years the site has acted as an Engineering training school for the General Post Office, Post Office Telecoms and latterly British Telecom until they sold the site in 2010.
The history and age of the site and its buildings meant it was necessary for the team to undertake historical research into environmental issues, the planning history and review historic maintenance records.
Having assessed the site’s history and current state of repair the Team was able to report to our client on the ongoing maintenance and capital expenditure liabilities. Our experience with dealing with Dilapidations also enabled our Surveyors to advise on future liabilities having scrupulously reviewed all buildings for any potential defects or deficiencies that could impact on the future performance of the building.
Our pre-acquisition leasehold surveying ensured that our clients were fully informed of what they could expect from the site and property they were seeking to acquire. Our Team also offered our client extensive advice to assist with their contract negotiations enabling them to mitigate their risk, costs and future liabilities.
From receipt of this urgent instruction to the submission of the report took the Brasier Freeth Team just five working days.
Following successful contract negotiations, Compass Contract Services Ltd acquired the lease of Yarnfield Park. Brasier Freeth continues to support Compass and its various subsidiaries assisting with acquisitions, lettings and disposals and providing professional advisory services, building surveying and property management.
Client: Leach Homes
Location: East London and the East of England including Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex
Services: Investment disposals
Following competition from a number of Agents, Brasier Freeth was instructed by Leach Pension Scheme (Trustees) Limited and Hubert C Leach Limited to sell a portfolio of over 30 commercial and residential investments, offering a variety of active asset management, development and reversionary opportunities.
The majority of the Leach portfolio had been in our client’s ownership for 50 years or more and in many cases had been developed by them originally.
The portfolio situated over a wide geographical area included a variety of investment opportunities including; 24 individual retail units, petrol station, office, doctors surgery, public house, gym, community centre, 2 snooker halls, bar/nightclub, 47 residential ground rents and over 50 lock-up garages.
In addition to income-producing investments, there were a number of properties which offered development potential and others with the opportunity to add value by active management.
The portfolio had an estimated value in excess of £7 million.
Having reviewed the potential of the portfolio for sales as individual assets or a sale in its entirety the Team decided that selling the individual investments would yield a greater return. Whilst a single sale wasn’t ruled out, a bespoke marketing plan was developed for selling the properties separately and the Team commenced marketing the portfolio. With an established network of contacts, our Agents wasted no time in getting the opportunities to the market.
Within less than ten months, our Agency Team had sold all but one of the properties within the 63,500 square foot portfolio, exceeding the anticipated sales value by over £1 million, achieving sales totalling £8.1 million.
Client: Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd
Location: Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
Services: Pre-acquisition leasehold surveying, lease assignment, preparation of specification of works, project management and contract administration
Brasier Freeth’s Building Surveying Team was instructed to carry out a building survey of a 66,000 sq. ft. high bay warehouse for leasehold acquisition by Majestic Wine Warehouses – the largest wine specialist in the UK.
The proposed acquisition involved the assignment of the existing leasehold interest and our Building Surveying Team worked very closely with our Business Space Agency Team.
The warehouse was situated adjacent to the Buncefield fuel depot in Hemel Hempstead. The survey included an appraisal of the post-explosion repairs and a review of the continued consequential effects of the Buncefield blast upon the building structure. The survey identified a number of structural defects to the steel frame. This resulted in extensive negotiations involving the Landlords, their Agents and the Assignors and consequentially Brasier Freeth negotiated a reverse premium to compensate for the Assignors existing Dilapidations liabilities and additionally an agreement with the Landlords regarding a reduced liability for possible structural deterioration.
Following the negotiation of the assignment of the lease by Business Space Agency colleagues, our Building Surveying team was once again instructed to prepare a detailed Specification of Works to refurbish the property and to develop our client’s brief to fit-out both the office and warehouse premises.
Following the successful lease assignment, we were instructed to Project Manage the refurbishment of the warehouse to create a state-of-the-art distribution depot and support office. Our Team was on hand at every step of the refurbishment, handling the tender process and managing contractors and dealing with utilities. We also provided comprehensive contract administration services, monitoring and reporting on both compliance and the financials.
Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd successfully moved their central Head Office to their newly acquired and refurbished site. Just three months later their Distribution Centre followed, relocating to their new, larger, modern facility to support their future growth.
Following the success of this project, Brasier Freeth has since been instructed to advise and support Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd on a variety of Dilapidations instructions throughout the country. We also secured a further instruction to survey and assist on the acquisition of a warehouse unit adjacent to this one.
Client Name: Ashbourne Cedar Property Fund Ltd
Location: Hastings, East Sussex
Services: Dilapidations, and expert witness statements
Brasier Freeth’s Building Surveying Team was instructed by our Landlord client to prepare a Terminal Schedule of Dilapidations in relation to their 7-storey 33,000 sq ft office building in Hastings.
Upon instruction, as part of the preparation of the Terminal Schedule of Dilapidations a detailed analysis of defective cladding was necessary. This proved a lengthy and time-consuming process, involving the appointment, coordination and subsequent liaison with cladding specialists. Extensive testing and analysis of the cladding and roof were necessary to complete the Schedule.
The negotiations regarding the Dilapidations that then followed with the Tenants, proved contentious. The Tenants had exercised their right to undertake repair works within the current term of their lease. However, the works carried out didn’t adequately rectify the defects that had been identified. Upon expiry of the Tenant’s lease, a further Schedule of Dilapidations was prepared and served. This was contested by the Tenants and papers were filed with the Courts by the Landlord to claim for damages.
In contemplation of the matter reaching court we submitted Expert Witness Statements and prepared a case to achieve a Dilapidations settlement. In advance of reaching the Court, we prepared for a Mediation Hearing and attended the session to secure settlement of the claim on behalf of our client.
Thanks to the diligence and perseverance of our Surveyors, our client was saved from a Court Hearing. Following lengthy Mediation, we achieved a £1.1million increase in the Tenant’s original settlement offer.
Our client, delighted with the result gave us further instructions to undertake the project management and contract administration role for the £1.25 million dilapidations repair works.
Client: Compass UK & Ireland
Services: Office acquisitions and lettings, lease advisory, building surveying, dilapidations assessment, preparation of specification of works, tender management, project management of an office refurbishment programme, property management
Brasier Freeth has acted for various subsidiaries of the largest global food service provider, Compass UK and Ireland, for over 25 years.
Brasier Freeth’s Business Space Agency was instructed to acquire new offices for the company. Following their relocation, they were also instructed for the disposal of their old premises. Our Building Surveying and Property Management Teams have also received instructions to advise on the refurbishment the old premises and manage the property going forward.
Brasier Freeth’s Agency Team successfully acquired and negotiated favourable lease terms for the company on 23,000 sq ft of office space in Parkview, Uxbridge.
Following their successful relocation to their new premises, the Team commenced marketing to find a new tenant for the Rivermead office building that had become surplus to the company’s requirements. Following a successful campaign, a new tenant was secured for 30,000 of the 45,000 sq ft building in Uxbridge.
Prior to the new tenant’s occupation, the building was in need of substantial refurbishment within a tight timescale. The Building Surveying Team was on the case this time, surveying the building, preparing a dilapidations assessment report for the Head Tenant, preparing a detailed Specification of Works, obtaining tenders and securing Landlord’s consent and statutory approvals. The refurbishment programme had a contract value of £1 million and was completed to a very high standard and, crucially for the new occupier, delivered on time. Prior to occupation, our Building Surveyors were once again called upon to advise regarding the sub-tenant’s proposed fit-out and design and were enlisted to oversee the £2 million fit-out works undertaken by the new occupier.
Having already assisted in lease negotiations and advised on service charge matters, the Property Management Team were next to get involved and received instructions to manage the building. This involved ensuring that all service contracts for cleaning, security, landscaping and maintenance were in place for the new tenant’s occupation and maintained thereafter, including payment of contractors’ invoices. The Team also acts as the point of contact for the tenant’s, liaising with them on service charges and collecting their account payments.
The new tenant occupied the fully refurbished Rivermead offices and Brasier Freeth’s Property Management Team was contracted to manage the building. As a multi-faceted professional Practice, this provides a perfect example of how our teams can offer the full spectrum of property consultancy services, minimising cost and maximising our clients’ asset potential.
Client Name: Ashbourne Cedar Property Fund Ltd & Hastings Borough Council
Location: Hastings, East Sussex
Services: Design & specification, project management and contract administration
Following the successful settlement of the Landlord’s Dilapidations claim for £1.1 million, Brasier Freeth’s Project Management team was retained to design, specify, procure and supervise the building refurbishment. In addition, the team were instructed by the existing tenant (Hastings Borough Council) to provide similar services for their CAT B office fit out over 6 floors.
The project began with detailed designs involving extensive consultation with specialist suppliers to meet Brasier Freeth’s design requirements, specifically for the re-roofing, south-facing windows and insulated render installations. The seafront location and previous issues with water ingress to the roof and front façade led to the complex design requiring a bespoke specification.
Competitive tenders were obtained next, following which lengthy negotiations took place with the Landlord’s Construction Solicitors to procure bespoke collateral warranties and construction contract terms of the Construction Contract and Collateral Warranties. Whilst waiting for the bad weather window to pass and the client to obtain funding for the works, a contractor was appointed and contracts engrossed with a contract sum of £1.25 million.
Simultaneously, Brasier Freeth acted for the existing occupiers who were occupying under a Licence, not a Lease, of the building to project manage their CAT B office fit-out. The works were procured under a negotiated tender with the appointed main contractor to allow work continuity and reduced preliminary costs with an agreed contract sum of £600k.
Brasier Freeth’s Project Management team delivered the works under budget, securing a new tenancy for the upper floors of the building under a 10-year full repairing insuring lease, enhancing the value of the property, whilst significantly improving the aesthetic appearance and performance.
As well as this the tenant was provided with a fully refurbished building, complying with current regulations and received a vastly enhanced working office environment for staff including a new meeting floor and Council Chamber.
Client: Compass Group PLC
Location: Chertsey, Surrey
Services: Employer’s Agent and Project Management
Brasier Freeth was instructed by Compass Group PLC to assist with the refurbishment of their 55,000 sq.ft. three storey Head Office in Chertsey. Our brief was to act as Employer’s Agent with works being procured on a Design and Build basis. Our brief included detailed monitoring of the project through to completion, keeping the client informed of progress and ensuring the works were completed on time and within budget.
Our involvement began at the design stage, first agreeing on a brief with the client and preparing the Employer’s Requirements, which enabled the contractor to develop their design proposals and prepare a contract sum analysis. Brasier Freeth reviewed the contractor’s documentation in depth and worked closely with the client to agree the scope of works they would proceed with and negotiated the contract sum with the appointed contractor.
The works comprised a high-quality office fit-out, installation of a bespoke commercial kitchen, restaurant and innovation centre, and complete renewal of the M&E and IT services.
Due to the extent of the refurbishment works, the client temporarily relocated to offices in Weybridge for the duration of the contract to reduce business disruption. It was vital that works were completed on time and within the agreed budget to avoid the need to further extend the short-term lease at their temporary premises and ensure the project was still viable. The contractor took possession of the site in October 2014 with the agreed completion and handover to be in July 2015.
Brasier Freeth administered a short extension of time in accordance with the Design and Build Contract to accommodate a minor post-contract increase in the client’s scope of works with the revised completion date, August 2015.
The works required Landlord’s consent which Brasier Freeth coordinated, collating all the documentation and design information for submission to, and agreement with the Landlord.
A proportion of refurbishment works qualified for savings under the Government Capital Allowances Scheme. Brasier Freeth worked with the project team to separate all of the works and associated costs which qualified for relief, ready for submission.
Brasier Freeth’s Project Management Team acted at Employer’s Agent ensuring the refurbishment and fit-out works were delivered to a high standard in accordance with the client’s brief and current legislation. Compass Group PLC moved back into Compass House in August 2015 avoiding the need to extend the lease at their temporary premises in Weybridge.
Following the success of this project Brasier Freeth has since been instructed to assist with office refurbishments in Birmingham and Twickenham for Compass UK & Ireland.
Client: Dunstable Town Council
Location: Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Services: Planning Consultancy, Project Management and Contract Administration
Brasier Freeth is the retained property consultant for Dunstable Town Council providing a range of services assisting with alterations to and the preservation of their properties and grounds.
Our initial involvement began with Priory House when Brasier Freeth was commissioned to complete a Building Survey of the Grade II Listed property, which dates back to medieval times. Brasier Freeth has been involved in various repair and maintenance works at Priory House, but most notably, we were instructed to assist with the repair and conservation of the 13th Century four-bay stone-vaulted undercroft structure which was all that remained of the original two-storey structure.
Prior to our involvement, refurbishment works were undertaken at Priory House by others, focusing mainly on external repairs and the upper parts of the property. The stonework to the medieval vaulted undercroft had also been cosmetically refurbished and was subject to numerous piecemeal repairs over the years, however, these had not resolved the issue of the stonework deteriorating and spalling and was not a long-term solution.
Brasier Freeth was tasked with inspecting the undercroft to review the condition; investigating the cause of deterioration of the stonework; looking at available remedies to conserve the historical structure and ensuring the property was safe to occupy and that it could remain open for the enjoyment of our client, their staff and the public.
Our investigations included visual examination, stone and render sampling, crack monitoring and historical research. In addition to the natural ageing of the stonework, it was established that the moisture levels were excessive which needed to be addressed. Some of the stonework was beyond repair and required replacement to prevent a future collapse of the vaulted structure.
Brasier Freeth worked with Dunstable Town Council, Central Bedfordshire Council’s conservation team and English Heritage to agree on a suitable level of repair which would be sympathetic to the historical structure, but would also address the issues. Listed Building Consent was obtained which required preparation of detailed drawings, a Conservation Management Plan, a Heritage Asset Assessment and various samples of materials.
We then procured the approved remedial works, tendering a detailed specification to specialist stonemasons and proceeded to act as Project Managers and Contract Administrators managing the repair through to completion, ensuring all works were completed satisfactorily and in accordance with the statutory consents.
Repairs to the stone-vaulted undercroft structure were successfully completed with the ground floor able to re-open as a café for both the client and the public’s enjoyment. In accordance with the Listed Building Consent and Conservation Management Plan, environmental monitoring continues to be undertaken to ensure the special historical and architectural interest and integrity of the building is conserved and maintained.
Brasier Freeth continues to act for Dunstable Town Council on a variety of instructions.
Client: Addington Capital and Tristan Capital Partners
Location: Harvey Centre, Harlow, Essex
Services: Acquisitions, Disposals, Lettings and Lease Advisory
Brasier Freeth was invited to join the leasing team by the Landlords; Addington Capital, in a joint venture with Tristan Capital Partners, who purchased the Harvey Centre in March 2011.
Since then they have embarked on an aggressive asset management campaign to reposition the scheme in the regional retail hierarchy. Following a £1 million refurbishment of the interior of the Harvey Centre and a £5 million refurbishment and expansion of Primark, the Brasier Freeth Retail Team let 100% of the internal space. A host of deals was done with national retailers including HMV, Specsavers, Choice, Vision Express and Poundland.
Further transformation of the centre occurred in 2016 and a new £9 million leisure development with both cinema and restaurants branded ‘The Terrace’ opened in the Autumn. Coinciding with the Cineworld opening, 9 new retail units were created by subdividing the former M&S premises. The majority of these were pre-let including a 30,000 sq. ft. gym to Exercise 4 Less, Nationwide Bank, Holland & Barrett, F Hinds, a ladies fashion store and a branded coffee operation.
We have supported our Landlord client throughout their extensive redevelopment programme and will continue to act as joint agents for The Harvey Centre marketing new opportunities and advising our client on the lettings.
Client Name: Mothercare
Location: Cherry Tree Road, Watford
Services: Sale and Leaseback of Mothercare’s National Headquarters
Our Business Space Team was tasked by Mothercare with looking at a potential sale and leaseback of their 100,000 sq. ft. HQ and adjacent warehouse in order to release cash for the business whilst safeguarding occupation and providing flexibility for the future. We were familiar with the building from past work with Mothercare and understood the particular challenges of its size, mix of accommodation and non-commercial location.
With experience of both the commercial market regionally, an understanding of permitted development and the residential development market coupled with a fine-grained knowledge of the local commercial market we were able to identify that there were strong prospects of extracting value from the site well in excess of the pure office and warehouse value by focusing on the alternative use prospects.
Having been selected in competition with a multi-national firm speed was critical in the run-up to the summer period and we were able to mobilise quickly to bring the property to the market before the end of July. We generated strong interest in what is not normally an ideal time of year to promote property, but there was pressure to achieve a sale before critical reporting milestones for the client. A competitive bidding process produced a number of strong bids with a second round being necessary to separate the front runners. Once a party was selected exchange of contracts occurred quickly with completion slightly deferred but all within acceptable parameters for the client.
Our client was delighted with the achieved price and terms. Our team demonstrated an ability to mobilise fast to deliver results in a compressed time frame without compromising the marketing process or the end result.
Client: Henderson UK Property OEIC and Berwick Hill Properties
Location: The Rivers Office Park, Maple Cross, Rickmansworth
Services: Advice on Achievable Rents, Marketing and Lettings
The Rivers Office Park, Maple Cross is a prestigious 5 acre business destination in close proximity to London and the M25 and totals almost 100,000 sq. ft. Prior to an extensive refurbishment Brasier Freeth acted for the Henderson UK Property OEIC and Berwick Hill Properties in relation to the letting of 32,062 sq. ft. of the Park known as ‘Building 1’.
Having been originally built in the 1990’s a comprehensive refurbishment and modernisation of the Park was needed. During the programme as the most active agent in the locality Brasier Freeth was asked to provide advice on what rental the office accommodation in Buildings 1,2 & 3 could achieve following an enhancement to grade A standard. The proposed updates were to include the installation of new boilers, lifts, air conditioning, LG7 lighting, toilet facilities and reconfigured receptions with contemporary finishes.
The work undertaken to Buildings 2 and 3 as well as the construction of a new 170 seat café and amenity centre providing dining, break out and meeting spaces secured the continued occupation of Nissan & Renault at enhanced rental levels. Having advised on achievable rental income Brasier Freeth worked with Joint Agents Savills to deliver an effective marketing campaign for Building 1.
Following initial marketing the Building was pre-let to RCI Financial Services prior completion of the Building 1 refurbishment. The letting was on the basis of a 15 year lease with a break at the 10th year at a new record headline rent for the West M25. The upgrade works were completed in spring 2017 ready for Building 1 to be occupied by its new Tenant. The Park was sold as a fully let entity in mid-2017.
Client Name: Prologis
Location: Prologis Park, Blossom Way, Hemel Hempstead
Services: Pre-let and Letting Campaign and Site Acquisition
Prologis has a longstanding history of investment along the M1 corridor. Locally, in Hemel Hempstead they owned over 700,000 sq. ft. of logistics space in 4 units. When an opportunity arose to acquire a further 33 acres within 1.5 miles of Junction 8 of the M1 motorway, Prologis recognised the site’s potential and completed the purchase during the summer of 2017.
Following consultations with the planners at Dacorum Borough Council, planning consent was granted for 10 high quality logistics and warehouse units totalling 585,000 sq. ft. in a landscaped park environment. A key consideration when designing the scheme was to provide a mix of unit sizes, the final scheme was for a range of units from 8,700 – 169,000 sq. ft.
Brasier Freeth were appointed as joint letting agents and commenced marketing the Park in the Autumn of 2017.
The site falls within the Enivro Tech Enterprise Zone promoted by Hertfordshire LEP in consultation with University of Hertfordshire, Rothamsted Research and Building Research Establishment (BRE). With an established reputation in the local market Brasier Freeth has excellent links with key stakeholders in the region and we supported key discussions between our client and the Dacorum Borough Council planners, the Hemel Hempstead’s Business Ambassadors and Hertfordshire LEP.
Construction on Prologis Park, Hemel Hempstead commenced in October 2017. The 59-week programme included 30 weeks of infrastructure provision. Due to level changes across the site, plateaus were stabilised and created. A new road was brought in from Boundary Way to access the site and footpaths were diverted and improved. New street lighting and pavements were also installed and a pocket park was created adjacent to the Jack & Jill children’s nursery, for the benefit of all employees on Maylands.
The site of DC2 was capable of accommodating a 120,000 sq. ft. warehouse. A pre-let was agreed with Hermes Logistics for an 80,000 sq. ft. parcel distribution hub with excellent yard and loading areas on three sides of the building. The project included a turnkey office fit-out and the property was handed over in October 2018 in plenty of time for the Christmas parcel rush.
DC3 a 169,000 sq. ft. unit was let on completion to Vitabiotics who specialise in vitamin and mineral food supplements. The company’s brands of Wellman, Wellwomen and Pregnacare are well known in the industry. Vitabiotics relocated their warehouse facility from Staples Corner to Prologis Park. Brasier Freeth has subsequently been instructed to market their surplus office space within the building.
DC4-4C is a terrace of 4 units.
The 14,000 sq. ft. DC4 was let to local occupier Chiltern Timber, the excellent yard was a key selling point. The 11,000 sq. ft. DC4A was let to Nile Trading who import and distribute marble and quartz worktops. Notably, during construction Prologis changed the foundations of the building to accommodate a crane facility (to be installed by the occupier).
Currently, DC4B and DC4C are available with DC4C benefitting from a 40m yard.
DC5&6 – Comprising two units of 34,000 sq. ft and 39,000 sq. ft. which can easily be combined remain available to let. The units benefit from dock loading and surface level doors, this high specification is typically not seen on units of this size in the region.
DC7 – This 21,500 sq. ft. unit was let on completion to Riwal. Riwal base their headquarters facility in the building. The company specialise in access equipment. Key to this letting was access to the motorway network, a large yard and a high-quality facility.
DC1 – this site at the entrance to the park has planning consent for 149,000 sq. ft. warehouse. Currently we have terms out to an occupier on a pre-let basis.
The success of the scheme to date, which was over 70% let at completion, gave Prologis added confidence in the location. When Brasier Freeth introduced the possibility of buying the adjoining 11.5 acre site fronting Maylands Avenue they were keen to expand the Park and completed on the purchase in January 2019.
Prologis is currently in consultation with Dacorum Borough Council regarding the site’s extension and the project is anticipated to commence during the summer of 2019.
Brasier Freeth is delighted to be part of the continued success of Prologis Park, Hemel Hempstead and looks forward to the next phase of the scheme’s development.
For further information on this project please contact Trevor Church or Claire Madden
Client Name: Dalston Overseas Limited
Location: Staines, Middlesex
Services: Retail Letting, Rent Review and Lease Extension
101/103 High Street in Staines formed part of the ex-Woolworths store. When the business went into administration in 2008 Brasier Freeth was asked by the Landlords to find a new tenant to occupy the premises.
Brasier Freeth received interest from various parties but in the end, agreed terms with Hennes and Mauritz to take a lease on the property. Hennes also took a new lease on Unit 33, The Elmsleigh Centre which also formed part of the Woolworths store but was owned by another party.
The transaction was complicated as both interests had to be satisfied and the rent paid by Hennes needed to be apportioned in a fair and reasonable way that was acceptable to both Landlords. Hennes took a 10 year lease from August 2010 with a 5 year rent review and tenant only break after year 7.
5 years later our Team was re-instructed to negotiate the rent review on behalf of the Landlord. This involved rent review negotiation, lease extension and removal of the August 2017 tenant break.
This transaction completed in late 2016 and Hennes then went on to redevelop the internal layout of the premises to increase the first floor sales area, which has improved the look and feel of the store. This refurbishment is expected to result in a substantial rise in turnover for the retailer.
Client Name: Dunstable Town Council
Location: Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Services: Planning Consultancy, Project Management, Employer’s Agent & Contract Administration
Brasier Freeth was instructed by Dunstable Town Council to assist in the creation of a children’s splashpad within Bennett Memorial Recreation Ground, the transformation of the existing dated sports pavilion and changing rooms to provide a café with refurbished changing areas. Brasier Freeth was appointed to procure and project manage the proposed works.
The Brasier Freeth Building Surveying team began with a measured survey of the property and then worked closely with the client and specialist consultants to develop the design and specification of works for the proposed pavilion alterations. In addition to providing a café, improved toilet facilities were required and a secure plant room within the building to house any required splashpad equipment. Brasier Freeth procured competitive tenders for the alteration and refurbishment works to the building and assisted with the appointment of the building contractor under a traditional JCT Intermediate Contract.
Regarding the splashpad play area, Brasier Freeth invited specialist contractors to prepare detailed designs based upon a fixed budget for presentation to the client. Brasier Freeth, assisted in the selection and appointment of the splashpad contractor under a separate JCT Design & Build Contract.
Brasier Freeth obtained Local Authority Planning Approval and worked with an approved inspector to ensure compliance with Building Regulations.
Works commenced on site with Brasier Freeth acting as Contract Administrator for the works to the pavilion and as Employer’s Agent for the splashpad. Brasier Freeth managed the contracts simultaneously ensuring the contractors worked as a team to achieve completion of the project on time and budget.
The Brasier Freeth team successfully managed the project ensuring the works were undertaken to a high standard, in accordance with the client’s brief and completed within the programme ready for the school holidays. “Bennett’s Splash” and “Splashside Café” are a welcome addition to the park and have been hugely popular with the local children and families.
Client: Keith Prowse
Location: Rugby Road, Twickenham
Services: Design & Specification, Contract Administrator, Principal Designer
Brasier Freeth was instructed by a long-term client to carry out the internal refurbishment and fit-out of the ground floor of Webb Ellis House in Twickenham. The works needed to be completed within a short timescale and involved the relocation of 90 employees.
Brasier Freeth carried out the design and specification for the refurbishment and also acted as Contract Administrator from inception to completion. In addition to this the team also undertook the role of Principal Designer.
In order to save time, Brasier Freeth acquired one contractor to combine both the landlord and tenant works. Throughout the process the team visited the site twice a week and attended project progress meetings fortnightly.
The works comprised a high quality office fit-out, installation of a kitchen, toilets, marketing suite, open plan office and new meeting rooms.
Brasier Freeth’s Project Management Team ensured the refurbishment and fit-out works were delivered to a high standard in accordance with the client’s brief.
The employees were successfully relocated within the short timeframe with minimal disruption.
Client: Bentley Designs
Location: Bicester, Oxfordshire
Brasier Freeth has acted for Bentley Designs for approximately 17 years with an earlier association through one of our Principal’s going back to the early 90’s. After a long period based in North West London, Bentley Designs was looking at different options for office and warehouse locations with the guidance of Brasier Freeth.
Originally the company, which imports high quality furniture from the Far East, was based in a small unit on the Metropolitan Estate, Greenford but over a number of years in line with substantial sales growth they needed additional accommodation. Through Brasier Freeth Bentley acquired an additional 30,000 sq. ft. of accommodation elsewhere on the estate before launching a search for a consolidated headquarters in 2005/2006. Brasier Freeth identified a number of options, the most attractive of which was to take a pre-let of approximately 60, 000 sq. ft. at Auriol Drive, Greenford which included a purpose built showroom and offices plus modern dock level access and the ability to accommodate high level racking by virtue of 10m eaves.
This warehouse served the purpose very well for a 10 year period but in early 2014, nearly 3 years prior to the date of the lease termination, Bentley Designs approached Brasier Freeth with a view to examining and considering their options after the end of 2017.
Various scenarios were considered including splitting functions into a head office and distribution hub and locations as far north as Cannock were evaluated with the location eventually narrowed down to the Banbury/Bicester area.
Two developments were shortlisted in the expanding town of Bicester and terms ultimately agreed with db symmetry for a new warehouse of 88,000 sq. ft. in early 2016.
Following agreement of terms and specification, planning consent was nervously awaited. This was granted in late 2016 with construction starting on site almost immediately in early 2017.
The warehouse was completed at the beginning of December 2017 with Bentley Designs now occupying the premises.
Client Name: Jaguar and Aston Martin
Location: Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
Services: Project Management, Reinstatement and Repair Works, Health and Safety, Contract Administration
Following a fire at the Jaguar and Aston Martin garage in Welwyn Garden City Brasier Freeth was appointed to project manage the reinstatement and repair works of the garage..
The Brasier Freeth Project Management team negotiated a tender with the main contractor due to tight timeframes. The Landlord’s and Tenant’s insurers both instructed their own independent loss adjustors. Prior to the fire damage, the property contained an asbestos cement roof which was replaced during the repairs along with all vertical cladding to elevations and the mechanical and electrical installations. The contract value of the repair and reinstatement works was £500,000. From undertaking an initial survey of the fire damaged property, Brasier Freeth developed a full design Specification with the assistance of a Structural Engineer and M&E Consultant before tendering and negotiating this with the main contractor. Brasier Freeth also undertook the role of Principal Designer under the CDM Regulations 2015 assisting with Health and Safety of the works during the design, pre-construction phase, submitting the F10 notification and monitoring the works through to completion where we assisted with the development of the Health and Safety File. During the works Brasier Freeth provided contract administration services chairing weekly progress meetings with the main contractor, client representatives and the design team. We were responsible for issuing all instructions and certificates etc. required in accordance with the Building Contract and administered the project through to completion.
The overall programme lasted for 12 weeks. Despite the repairs, the showrooms remained trading throughout the full duration of the works. Our team successfully designed, procured and administered works in a timely manner to ensure the tenant could start trading again from the workshop, but more importantly ensuring the works were undertaken to a satisfactory standard in accordance with current Building and Health and Safety Regulations.
Services: Acquisitions, disposals, lettings and lease advisory
Guess is an internationally renowned brand with 1,640 stores worldwide and 16 stores in the UK. Brasier Freeth was first appointed by the global fashion retailer in February 2015 to help them with their property search in new priority locations, following a recommendation from Footlocker.
Once appointed, Brasier Freeth got stuck into three urgent problems, the first being a re-gear of their lease in Manchester where the Landlords were requesting a huge rent increase. With the help of Brasier Freeth, Guess was advised to serve notice to come out. In doing so the Landlord was obligated to be realistic and open up sensible discussions for a new lease in order to retain the store. After a few weeks both parties agreed a two year lease at the same rent as before, which led to a huge saving on original quoting terms.
The second challenge was a disposal of their accessories store in Westfield London which was making a loss, with the former agents having had no luck for the previous 12 months. Brasier Freeth worked with Westfield London to commence marketing which shortly after led to agreeing a surrender enabling Guess to come out of the store within four months.
The third problem was a loss making store in Bristol which was a very tough disposal, however through a strong relationship with the Landlords we managed to agree a surrender with a 12 month delay whilst the landlords agreed their new letting, giving Guess a solution to their problem.
In April 2016 Guess opened their first new store for 4 years in Gunwharf Quays, which was shortly followed by two further stores in Kildare in Ireland and Swindon’s McArthur Glen Outlet Centre.
In late 2016 Brasier Freeth started negotiating deals in York, Liverpool, Metro Centre, Oxford Westgate and Westfield London Extension. Terms were subsequently agreed and Guess had opened a trio of stores in York, Liverpool and Metro Centre by June 2017. By October 2017 our client had opened a store in the new Westgate Centre and their Flagship store in Westfield London opened in March 2018.
Brasier Freeth continues to work with Guess to develop their existing retail portfolio whilst searching for storage facilities for their some of their stores.
With Brasier Freeth as their retained retail agents our client benefits from a personalised service from a Principal within the Practice who is on hand to work with their team to support their growth plans.
Client: Albion Land
Services: Acquisition, planning and development consultancy, disposals and lettings
Over a number of years, we have had discussions with Albion Land about their requirement to acquire development sites in the South East of England. Albion Land is a leading commercial property development company that delivers high quality bespoke facilities for occupiers. In 2013, we identified a site that could potentially be acquired for our client. We believed the 10 acre industrial estate ‘Bourne End Mills’, situated just off the A41 west of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, would make an excellent development opportunity.
Brasier Freeth initiated discussions with the owners on behalf of Albion Land and the Brasier Freeth Team provided a substantial amount of information in relation to tenure, planning and rent/pricing to support the purchase bid. Albion Land was the successful bidder and exchanged contracts for the purchase conditional on obtaining planning consent.
Just minutes from the M25, this prime site had a chequered history in planning terms with a consent in place for a 150,000 sq. ft. distribution warehouse, but subject to restrictions on hours of use and restricted height.
Having failed to achieve planning consent in late 2014 for an improved Warehouse scheme Albion persevered and working with our Team was able to find a solution suitable for both the client and the planning authorities. In April 2015, after lengthy consultations between the various parties, Albion took a view that an adjusted but workable scheme could be progressed and the site was purchased for just over £6 million.
Albion Land continued to negotiate with the Local Planning Authority with the result that approximately half the site gained planning permission for a residential development and half for a multi-unit industrial scheme targeted at owner/occupiers.
As a commercial developer, Albion Land did not wish to develop the residential site and instructed Brasier Freeth to sell it. This was undertaken in the Autumn of 2016 and a sale price of over £9 million was achieved.
Meanwhile, Albion commenced development of the 70,000 sq. ft. 12 unit industrial scheme named Network 41. Construction started in April 2016 and Brasier Freeth offered the opportunities to the market off plan. Despite it being immediately pre and then post the Brexit referendum, we experienced strong interest and swiftly all the small units were placed under offer to owner/occupiers at or above the asking prices.
The scheme completed at the end of February 2017 and all 12 units were sold.
The one larger unit of 30,397 sq. ft. was sold to an investor and Brasier Freeth was subsequently instructed to find a tenant. The Team immediately acted on this instruction and the unit letting completed in April 2017.
Brasier Freeth’s Property Management Department has also subsequently been instructed to manage the common parts of the industrial estate.