Page 1



TURBINE BUSINESS PARK TURBINE BUSINESS PARK IN BIRKENHEAD HAS BEEN A REAL SUCCESS STORY FOR ITS OWNER, REDSUN HAVING REACHED 90% OCCUPANCY LESS THAN A MONTH AFTER COMPLETION. Legat Owen has successfully attracted a number of local and national occupiers from the manufacturing, maritime and trade sectors. The scheme, which offers 90,000 sq ft of commercial space is now home to tenants including Star International, Travis Perkins and BMB Cabs.

Full story see Page 3





WELCOME TO THE SECOND EDITION OF OUR NEWSLETTER Since our first edition we’ve made several key appointments across our Chester and Nantwich offices. In our drive to broaden our service offer to clients, we are pleased to announce a series of appointments to our team: Simon Guest has come on board as the head of retail agency; Elizabeth Draycott has been appointed as our new business rates specialist and Jason Cooper has been appointed as our dedicated facilities manager. In this edition, we will bring you up to speed with some of the major deals we have been working on, as well as give you an insight into Chester’s office sector and market highlights in North Wales and across the North West.

We hope you find this newsletter of interest and if you would like further information about how we can support your business, please do get in touch. Kind regards, Peter Johnston Senior Partner Legat Owen


World House at Cheshire Oaks Business Park

Cheshire Oaks Business Park has continued to soar after Legat Owen seals a deal with Lime and Aviate Management at World House, owned by our client, Eric Wright Group (EWG). Lime is a full service ticket management company, exclusive to British Airways. Its sister company, Aviate, is a flight specialist offering fares on behalf of over 35 major airlines. The two have consolidated their offices in Manor Park in Runcorn and Chester Business Park to take the 15,000 sq ft building on a 10-year lease.

For further information, please visit 2

Previously occupied by structural engineers, Mouchel, EWG has undertaken a full refit of the property, which is located on the north eastern side of the business park.   Cheshire Oaks Business Park is made up of seven offices and counts organisations including Elan Homes, First4Skills, and UBM Information among its tenants. A further three plots have been reserved for design and build opportunities.    Lime and Aviate Managing Director, Michael Edwards said: “World House provides our company with a modern environment to help support our company’s continued development. Consolidating the two offices will help us better serve our clients and its location means it is accessible for our continuously expanding workforce.”

TURBINE BUSINESS PARK Legat Owen has successfully attracted a number of local and national occupiers from the manufacturing, maritime and trade sectors. The scheme, which offers 90,000 sq ft of commercial space is now home to tenants including Star International, Travis Perkins and BMB Cabs. The project was funded using development finance from Lloyds Banking Group and grant funding support from the Regional Growth Fund, supported by Wirral Council. Craig Booton, director at Redsun Developments, commented: “This was one of the more challenging sites we’ve developed, having been derelict for

many years, but we knew it was a great location to bring forward our product. “This development will provide a further boost to the local economy and we will be pressing on with similar projects already in planning stages.” Following on from this, Legat Owen has been retained by Redsun on two further developments: Thermal Road in Bromborough, where Redsun is bringing forward a speculative development of 90,000 sq ft, and Helix Business Park a 50,000 sq ft scheme in New Bridge Road at Ellesmere Port.

units before Redsun has started onsite. Stephen Wade of Legat Owen said: “Redsun has developed an enviable reputation for delivering high quality, industrial floor space across the region. The quality of the product and the company’s attention to detail has served to create a compelling proposition for tenants and purchasers alike.” The schemes at Bromborough and Ellesmere Port will both be available for occupation in summer 2017.

Deals have been agreed on several

ARE YOU UP TO SPEED WITH BUSINESS RATES? In the Autumn we were pleased to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Draycott as our new business rates specialist.

Having spent 14 years at the Valuation Office Agency, Liz has accrued a huge amount of experience and we think it’s safe to say there are few people better placed to advise on the new 2017 Draft Rating List. Liz has now been appointed to advise our existing client base, as well as new clients on all aspects associated with commercial property rates. Liz said: “Having worked on behalf of the Valuation Office Agency for many years, I have an in-depth working knowledge of the rating

system and the proposed changes that are being introduced in 2017. The new check, challenge, appeal system being introduced will impose significantly greater obligations on ratepayers to prove that their assessments are incorrect and potentially impose financial penalties for non-disclosure of relevant information. “The appeal process will therefore become more challenging and it is essential to seek professional advice in order to navigate the process, given that the last time the rateable values were reviewed was seven years ago.”



FORMER HOTPOINT FACTORY TO BRING UP TO 100 JOBS TO BODELWYDDAN Legat Owen advised the Welsh Government on the sale of the former Hotpoint site at Bodelwyddan to The Real Petfood Company, in a deal which could create up to 100 jobs. The Hotpoint factory was built back in the early 1980s and at its peak in 2004 employed 750 people. It closed in 2009 with the loss of 300 jobs but after lying empty for a number of years the Welsh Government acquired the site in 2014 to bring it back into employment use. The Real Petfood Company is now investing around £6million in acquiring, refurbishing and equipping the 130,000 sq ft building which sits on an 8-acre site. They will relocate 30 staff from the existing unit in Flintshire and are aiming to increase the workforce to 100 over five years. Graham Wheeler, managing director of the Real Petfood Co said: “The Real Petfood Company was established in North Wales 17 years ago and I am really pleased that we are able to continue growing and evolving in the

For further information, please visit 4

same area. “This is a very significant investment in the business which will boost our production capacity by some 600%.” Economy Cabinet Secretary Ken Skates said: “The decision by the Welsh Government to buy the site and bring it back into employment use is supporting business growth, creating jobs and boosting the local economy. “I am delighted The Real Petfood Company can now expand, create new jobs and increase capacity to meet the growing national and international demand for its products. “The company’s major investment in Bodelwyddan is a strong mark of confidence in manufacturing in Wales and it’s great news that it aims to increase its workforce in the near future,

Former Hotpoint factory

with potential for further expansion.” Stephen Wade who acted for the Welsh Government, said: “I would like to congratulate the Council for the proactive way in which they have engaged with the purchaser and responded to their initial request for detailed information in relation to the building and surrounding areas.” Cllr Hugh Evans, leader of Denbighshire County Council said: “The Council has adopted a brand new approach to handling investment enquiries, with the aim of turning those enquiries into real expressions of interest and successfully attracting new business into Denbighshire.”

WEIGHT OF CASH CONTINUES TO POUR INTO COMMERCIAL PROPERTY The commercial property investment market is continuing to perform well, if the deals we have done over the last few months are anything to go by. In the last month alone Legat Owen has created three investment sales in South Cheshire alone to private pension funds and individuals. A Crewe based private property fund has acquired a Euro Car Parts warehouse of circa 9,500 sq ft on Quakers Coppice, Crewe. The building was originally pre-let to Euro Car Parts and is subsequently being sold to the investor at a net initial yield of 6.8%. Over at MA6NITUDE in Middlewich, another private property company has acquired the Extronics investment, which is a modern industrial facility, let for a remaining term of 12 months and acquired off the back of a yield of 9.4%.

Finally, at St Asaph a multi let hybrid scheme known as Capital Court has been bought by a private pension fund from Liverpool. The opportunity provides one vacant unit along with additional development land and provides an attractive net initial yield on the standing investment of 5% and a lot size of just under £2 million. Matthew Pochin said: “These deals reflect the continued displacement from cash deposits to commercial property but whilst the investment market continues to see significant amounts of money needing a home, there is a limited stock of opportunities.”

AML INVESTMENT PAYS OFF WITH FLURRY OF DEALS Thanks to the significant investment and refurbishment programme Aberdeen Asset via Centurion Asset Management has undertaken at Advance Manufacturing & Logistics in Deeside, we are pleased to report a number of lettings. Underground Vision, Jump 2 It, Keyline and Nationwide Windows have all signed up, not to mention some high profile expansions including Triumph. Located on Deeside Industrial Park East, the scheme offers 850,000 sq ft of industrial, warehouse, manufacturing and office accommodation in sizes from 2,000 sq ft through to 60,000 sq ft, as well as D&B opportunities up to 100,000 sq ft.




PRINCES COURT COMES OF AGE UNDER NEW OWNER We are pleased to announce the sale of Princes Court in Nantwich, Cheshire to London-based FCFM Group.

Having advised the previous owner APAM on the deal, Legat Owen has now been appointed to market the three office buildings totalling over 18,000 sq ft. The development is currently undergoing a comprehensive refurbishment under its new owners to create modern office accommodation for small to medium-sized businesses. Around 8,000 sq ft of the building is already occupied to tenants including Feeling Great Health and Nutrition and Ensure Safety & Training on new five year leases.

Jamie Burke at FCFM, commented: “We are delighted to have purchased Princes Court and are currently rebranding, renovating and redecorating the offices. Our aim is to create a thriving business community in Princes Court. We can cater for various sizes of tenants from small startups and sole traders up to medium sized businesses. The Princes Court complex is ideal for tenants who want to grow as there is the flexibility to move into bigger offices on the site over time. We are happy to provide various incentives and offers for tenants and the response from the local business community has been very positive. We expect the site to be full in the coming months after years of low occupancy rates.”

“The occupational office market in Nantwich is performing well” Andy Butler said: “The occupational office market in Nantwich is performing well. Due to little new build development for some time, there is a general lack of availability of good quality space in the South Chesire market, we have seen Princes Court receive good levels of interest since the acquisition.”

FIGHTING FIT WITH NEW CLIENT WIN We are thrilled to announce the appointment of our first dedicated facilities manager, Jason Cooper. The Legat Owen management team has also won a new client, Rowlands Pharmacy, who have appointed us to manage their non-trading stock across the whole of the UK, which amounts to 67 properties in total. Mark Hopley, Director of Facilities and Property Management said: “This is an exciting time for the management side of the business. Jason’s role will help us further enhance the service we provide to our clients.”



TOTAL HAS BIG PLANS FOR CREWE With the impending arrival of HS2, it’s no surprise that Crewe and the surrounding area continue to be a hotbed for development, with forward thinking developers acquiring sites.

Total Developments is a case in point having last month acquired another prime employment site in the town from our client, Hawkstone Properties (Crewe Green) LLP. The 12.88-acre site is situated in a high profile location on University Way and can accommodate up to 160,000 sq ft of new build distribution/manufacturing floor space.    Stephen Wade, Director said: “This site is one of the best development opportunities available in South Cheshire and it was no surprise that it attracted strong demand. The site was sold after a competitive bidding process for a figure ahead of the guide price of £2.5million and we’ve now been retained by the purchaser to take the scheme to market.”   Total Development’s Managing Director, Ed Chantler and Director Jonathan Beeson commented: “The development of University Way will build on the success that we have already secured in relation to the adjoining Orion Park Development. The first two phases of our scheme have been let and subsequently sold. Phase three comprising 55,000 sq ft is now nearing completion and we already have very good interest in the units. Our intention is to roll onto University Way and commence construction on a speculative basis thereby bringing badly needed high quality employment floor space to the market.”  

For further information, please visit 7


FORMER CLIVE CHRISTIAN KITCHEN HQ IS UP FOR GRABS! It’s not often that a building like 1-5 Pillory Street comes to market.

For further information, please visit 8

The building’s owner, Clive Christian Kitchens and Interiors occupied a prominent position in the three upper office floors prior to its relocation to Mayfair earlier this year. The now vacant space has planning permission for three apartments, or alternative suitable uses such as leisure or a restaurant, subject to a further planning application.

“a rare opportunity for someone to acquire the freehold of this iconic building” Andy Butler said: “Due to the company’s continued expansion, Clive Christian has taken the decision to relocate its UK offices to London. This has created a rare opportunity for someone to acquire the freehold of this iconic building and occupy the office accommodation or convert the space into three residential or other uses on the upper floors.”

ANGELSEY’S SPAR IS STAR BUY! In Beaumaris on Anglesey we have just sold the home of the Spar supermarket to a private investor.

Spar, Beaumaris

The building is let to AF Blakemore (trading as Spar) on a new 15-year lease. James Lutton commented: “This deal shows how quality assets with long term secure income are still very attractive in this market. We had a huge amount of interest which led to a competitive tender process.”

SME DEALS LEAD TO DROUGHT IN CREWE! Whilst we are pleased to report a trio of deals in the Crewe area, it’s bad news for businesses looking for space as there is little to choose from. Parcel delivery firm Doddle has taken a new 5-year lease at a rent of £28,500 of unit 8 at Orion Park. The unit is approximately 4,500 sq ft and is the last letting of the highly successful small speculative unit schemes undertaken at Orion Park by Black and White. On The Gateway, Tool Station has signed up to a 3,750 sq ft unit on a 10-year lease at a rent of £20,733 per annum from a local investor. Finally, Northern Polymers, who have

been looking for new space in the town for a number of years, has acquired two units on Quakers Coppice in Crewe totalling 4,234 sq ft at a price of £320,000. Matthew Pochin said: “All these transactions are further good news for the town and reflect the strength of rental and freehold pricing. That said, it really does exacerbate the problem of good quality stock drying up in the market place.”



VIEWPOINT Read Will Sadler’s view on the future of Chester’s office market: 2016 has seen the long awaited opening of Muse Developments “City Place”, the first speculative office development in the city for some time. Over the last two or three years the city has suffered from a lack of large floor plates and this first phase, providing 70,000 sq ft, provides much needed grade A space with significant lettings to RSM Tenon, Power Solutions and a rumoured 25,000 sq ft under offer to University of Law. Whilst City Place has grabbed the headlines, there has been active take up elsewhere in Chester, particularly in the out of town business parks.  Chester Business Park, recognised as a nationally important financial services hub, has welcomed further investment from this sector with Succession Financial Management, Deepbridge Capital, Nextgear Capital, Tuxedo Finance and DS-7 all acquiring new or larger premises on the park. Palladium Property’s “Honeycomb” scheme, in Liverpool city centre, has secured occupiers from outside the financial services sector with 20,000 sq ft of smaller lettings to Chlobo Jewellery, Horan Engineering, Madison Spa and Langley James Recruitment.  Slightly further afield, Cheshire Oaks Business Park has also seen good take up, notably 15,000 sq ft Rowan House acquired by Lime Management from Eric Wright Group.  

Honeycomb, Chester Business Park


Whilst these transactions are evidence of a healthy commercial market, it is perhaps fair to say that more could be done to attract new blood to the city and this challenge has been met head on by the launch of the “Chester Growth Partnership”. Along with key partners, they will deliver a programme of improvements in Chester as part of the One City Plan, a 15 year strategy guiding the future economic regeneration of Chester. The aim of the plan is to create a reinvigorated city centre, making it a distinctive and desirable place in which to live, invest, do business, visit and study.   So, how can inward investment be achieved?  There are many wide ranging opinions, and I identify three key challenges:   Firstly, better quality incubation space needs to be provided to support startups and SMEs. Aside from the University’s Riverside Innovation Centre, there is little space available to nurture companies and support their growth. Neither are there any recognised serviced office operators in the city centre. Regus is located on Chester Business Park but it runs at capacity with nothing available in the city centre.   Secondly, in order to make speculative development “stack up”, rental levels in Chester city centre need to rise. They have stagnated at £10-£15 psf for too

long with the city experiencing a ‘race to the bottom’ post financial crash. We’re unlikely to witness any significant growth in rental levels without further Grade A stock and it is crucial that Muse follow up their Phase 1 success. External funding via JESSICA and NW Evergreen Fund will almost certainly be required in the short term.   Third - Infrastructure plays a fundamental role in the continued growth of any city. Investment needs to be made in Chester’s transport system particularly parking and improvements to key arterial routes into the city. Furthermore, whilst there is a regular 2-hour train service between Chester and London, the Manchester/Liverpool to Chester lines remain in the dark ages.  Electrification needs to happen as soon as possible. Better links between the city centre and train station are also required.   There are a number of quick and easy wins in the short term whilst the medium/ long term promises to be a time of meeting more fundamental, structural challenges in order that Chester can continue to compete with its larger neighbours and become a location of choice for those looking at Northshoring.


NextGear Capital, the industry’s leading comprehensive provider of stock funding for independent and franchise car dealers in the UK and Ireland, has relocated its UK headquarters from approximately 5,000 sq ft at International House, to take Edward House, an 11,500 sq ft self-contained building on a 10 year lease. Located within the Kingsfield Court quarter, in the heart of Chester Business Park, Prospect (GB) undertook a full refurbishment of the property last year to create modern Grade ‘A’ office accommodation over two floors. Michael Kelleher, Finance Director at NextGear Capital, said: “Chester Business Park has been an optimum environment for our business’ growth and we were keen to remain here. Edward House is an impressive building and gives us the platform on which we can further expand our company. We are confident we will be able to expand our portfolio of contracted dealers to be in excess of 2,000 by 2018.   Will Sadler who represented the developer said: “Prospect GB’s decision to invest in Edward House has been handsomely

rewarded in securing a single high profile occupier for the whole building. This deal once again reinforces Chester Business Park’s standing as one of the region’s prime business destinations in the North West and a hub for financial services with organisations such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Marks & Spencer Money and Bank of America already here.” Neil Waddington, Managing Director at Prospect (GB), concluded: “As the landlord for both International House and Edward House, we are pleased to have retained NextGear, who are an excellent and long term tenant of ours. We are now embarking on a programme of refurbishment at International House to bring this building up to a similar standard.”  

UK’S BIGGEST TRAMPOLINE PARK BOUNCES INTO CHESTER The UK’s leading trampoline park operator, Flip Out, has announced plans to open its latest site at Chester Gates Business Park. Flip Out, which already has eight parks across the UK,

has taken a 53,071 sq ft selfcontained unit which will be the largest trampoline venue in the UK. Mark Diaper, who represented the building’s owner, CEG, said: “This development lends itself well to a trampoline park, not least because of its location at Junction 16 of the M56 motorway.”

For further information, please visit 11


BIRCHWOOD BUILDINGS SNAPPED UP Acting on behalf of private clients Legat Owen has negotiated the purchase of two prime industrial units in Birchwood Warrington. The two buildings combined extend to 23,085 sq ft and are both let to Terberg Matec Uk at a combined rent of £119,500 per annum. Terberg Matec are suppliers of specialist vehicles and employ over 1,000 people in 28 countries worldwide. Stephen Wade commented “Quality buildings like this in a strategic location at the heart of the North West’s motorway network don’t come around very often. We identified the opportunity and moved quickly to secure the asset for the client on what were very competitive terms.“

OUR SERVICES Legat Owen was established in 1986 to provide expert professional advice across the whole spectrum of commercial property and development land. We have a team of 21 chartered surveyors specialising in: • Valuation • Retail Agency • Industrial Agency • Office Agency

• Investment • Commercial & Residential Land • Landlord & Tenant • Rating

• • • •

Development Consultancy Property Management Building Surveying Expert Witness

If you have any questions regarding these, or any other property matters, then get in touch – we would love to hear from you.


Legat Owen Newsletter December 2016