This quarter we have caught up with Paul White, a Senior Associate in our Retford Office, to see what he is working on at the moment and to get his view of the market.
1. How long have you been at Brown and Co?
Just over 5 years – I joined April 2011 having moved to North Nottinghamshire from Milton Keynes where I was a director of national commercial surveyors Lambert Smith Hampton.
2. What type of work do you cover from the Retford Office?
All aspects of commercial property – agency, professional, valuations and development and across all use sectors – retail, industrial and offices.
3. What is the most interesting instruction you are working on at the moment?
Marketing of 200 acres of land at Harworth just off J34 of the A1(M). The land has now got an outline planning consent for approx. 2.5m sq ft of commercial space primarily big logistics buildings. My instructions are to sell the land for the farming family who own it. Most likely purchasers will be property developers and funds.
4. What has been your most rewarding job to date and why?
For a Retford based client we identified the opportunity of a pre-let of a building they owned to Howden. We agreed terms based on an extended building and planning for this and also a change of use for their trade counter standard operation. We secured planning and, on completion of the extension, the letting was completed. We then sold the let investment to a regional Mutual Society within only a few weeks of bringing it to the market.
5. Has Brexit had an impact on your local market?
It has been mixed so far. It’s too early to know. We read about big property funds such as Standard Life and Aviva suspending trading in their real estate funds citing “extraordinary market circumstances”. This is down to their investors wanting to get their money back out of what is a relatively illiquid market. It takes time for Funds to sell commercial property to release investors’ funds – it’s not like selling shares. Whilst Brexit will possibly impact on new development, so far it has been “business as usual” in respect of the local transactional market – lettings and sales.
6. From talking to people within the market, from occupiers to landlords, what do you feel is the general feeling about the market for the next 12 months?
I think people are generally being positive within the local market. There will be uncertainties in the UK and Europe over the next 12 months and beyond and such uncertainties can deter investors and occupiers. There will be more failings within the retail sector – most recently Store 21 have announced they will be closing nearly half of its stores as part of a CVA. Small market towns such as Retford have prospered from local businesses opening new ventures and less competition from multi-nationals in the area can be positive for these. Business will go on!