“We need to dispose of our lease – and fast!” was how John Brutnell, General Manager at global business aviation group ExecuJet (UK) Ltd summed up his instructions to McCalmont-Woods to dispose of a surplus 2,200 sq ft of office space on Level 34, One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, E14.
Working jointly with Studley, McCalmont-Woods drew up an initial marketing report setting out the leasing options available to the existing tenant and making various recommendations to ensure a speedy disposal for ExecuJet. The lease was successfully assigned to online business news provider IB Times just two months from receipt of client instructions – a feat all the more remarkable because no formal marketing was ever undertaken!
Occupiers often complain that their agents always pursue the easiest option to get a deal done. But McCalmont-Woods has a markedly different approach. Following 12 months of extensive negotiations on behalf of Abbey Business Centres, McCalmont-Woods acquired 17,000 sq ft on the 15th floor of the iconic ‘Gherkin’ skyscraper 30 St. Mary Axe, EC3 from Swiss Re under an OMA (Operator Management Agreement).
The innovative structure of the OMA required the creation of a detailed financial model, the assumptions of which were agreed by both parties and provided the benchmark against which to measure operating success. McCalmont-Woods’ successful completion of this instruction brings the amount of business centre space in the Foster-designed landmark tower under Abbey Business Centres’ control to c.44,000 sq ft over 3 floors.
Leading specialist liability insurance provider Marketform instructed McCalmont-Woods on its 20,000 sq ft City office rent review at 8 Lloyds Avenue, EC3 in July 2009.
The instruction is seen as a valued endorsement of McCalmont-Woods’ ethos and expertise. Founding director Nick McCalmont-Woods originally acquired the building for Marketform in 2004 and sub-let part of the ground floor the following year.
Commenting on the appointment, Marketform Management Services Director James Romer-Lee said: “It is incredibly important for any business to be able to trust its consultants. McCalmont-Woods has always delivered a level of service and bespoke expertise that is difficult to find elsewhere.”
McCalmont-Woods negotiated an 83% saving for Cazenove Capital Management on the proposed increase on its 34,000 sq ft offices at 12 Moorgate, EC2 in June 2008.
Commenting on the minimal 1.5% uplift on the rent passing, Cazenove’s IT Director, Stewart Norwood said of founding director Nick McCalmont-Woods: “Throughout, his advice was clear and valuable, resulting in a very positive outcome for the firm. He combines an expert view with a commercial approach, thus making sure all options are understood, strategy agreed, then effectively implemented. He’s also extremely personable. I’d happily recommend Nick’s work to anyone.”
The renewal of international information organisation Newsquest Specialist Media’s lease at its City headquarters 30 Cannon Street, EC4 represented a challenge of a different kind to its adviser McCalmont-Woods. This was because the existing landlord, international investment manager RREEF, was at the same time negotiating to sell its freehold interest in the building.
An extensive review of the City office market suggested one option was to relocate to an alternative property. But McCalmont-Woods was able to persuade Newsquest’s landlord of the merits of concluding a reversionary lease on its 12,000 sq ft offices. This solution provided RREEF with an income stream through the recession and enabled Newsquest to benefit from a low rent, together with additional lease flexibility and a service charge cap.
One of the UK’s largest newspaper publishers, Trinity Mirror plc, instructed McCalmont-Woods to arrange the surrender of its two leases comprising close to 56,000 sq ft on the 17th and 24th floors of Canary Wharf’s One Canada Square, London E14.
Terms were duly agreed but before the surrenders could take place, Trinity Mirror further instructed McCalmont-Woods to negotiate an additional 195,000 sq ft under-lease rent review against Canary Wharf Group plc, and a 52,000 sq ft sub-underlease rent review against State Street Bank & Trust Co., both as at 20th June 2008. In total, advice was provided on approximately 300,000 sq ft of prime office space.
Mike Shaw, Trinity Mirror’s Group Services Director, said of founding director Nick McCalmont-Woods: “He acts in an utterly professional and conscientious way and has a unique ability to understand his clients’ requirements from day one, without being overawed by the task at hand.”
Leading UK investment bank JP Morgan Cazenove appointed McCalmont-Woods in early 2008 to undertake its outstanding 24th June 2006 rent review on its 8,500 sq ft building at 9-10 Tokenhouse Yard, EC2 in the heart of London’s prestigious City business district.
The lease under which JP Morgan Cazenove occupies the building is very rare today in the City, being held on a 100-year term from 1963, with 57 years unexpired at the review date.
An additional complication to this unusual lease was that there was no disregard for tenant improvements. Unsurprisingly, since taking occupation, the tenant had made a number of major internal improvements, including the installation of comfort cooling and a passenger lift.
The review cycle alternates every 10 and 11 years, so founding director Nick McCalmont-Woods expects to be 96 years ‘young’ when the agreed annual rent is finally reviewed in 2058!