International SOS is the world’s leading health & security services company. More than 12,000 multi-cultural health security and logistics experts stand by to provide support and assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries. The company takes around 4 million assistance calls every year and has close to two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500 companies as clients.



McCalmont-Woods was tasked with devising and implementing a break option strategy for International SOS on its London office HQ (comprising circa 44,000 sq ft) situated at Chiswick Park, W4 in West London and considered by many to be London’s premier office business park location.

Over a period of 8-months leading up to the date for service of the tenant’s break notice, a comprehensive review of the central London office market was undertaken during the midst of the global pandemic. This involved the analysis of 70 properties and after careful review and the physical inspection of 15 buildings, a shortlist of potential relocation options was drawn up. Requests for proposal were issued to various landlords with detailed heads of terms negotiations conducted on a select number of (‘the go’) options. In parallel with the relocation exercise, the opportunity to restructure the tenant’s existing office leases (‘the stay option’) on Chiswick Park was explored in detail with Revantage Europe (a Blackstone company) advising the tenant’s existing landlord CIC, the Chinese sovereign wealth fund.



The successful break option strategy devised by McCalmont-Woods resulted in International SOS remaining at Chiswick Park under restructured lease terms which produced circa £4 million savings for the business, reported to be “the most generous terms ever offered on a lease regear at Chiswick Park”.


Michael Whitlow, Human Resources Director, Assistance Business Line
“Thank you so much for delivering such an incredible outcome for the business. It has been a pleasure partnering with you on this critical project.”


Apex Group Ltd., established in Bermuda in 2003, is a global financial services provider. With over 45 offices worldwide and 4000 employees, Apex delivers a broad range of solutions to asset managers, capital markets, private clients and family offices. Apex administers over $650 billion in assets globally. Sub-brands within the Apex Group include Throgmorton, LRI and European Depositary Bank.

Ipes was founded in 1998 specifically with Private Equity in mind and pioneered the Private Equity specialist approach to fund administration. Ipes is now part of Apex Group Ltd since 2018



When, in 2015, leading provider of fund administration and outsourcing for European private equity Ipes wanted to grow its headcount and achieve property cost savings it enlisted McCalmont-Woods to help relocate its London office from Victoria in the West End to the City of London where rental values were lower. The resultant acquisition of 8,100 sq ft on a new 10-year lease at 1 Minster Court, EC3 produced immediate cost savings of £750,000 for the business and enabled Ipes to cap its liability for service charge for five years.

When three years later in 2018 Silverfleet Capital realised its investment in Ipes, new business owner Apex Group Ltd (backed by Genstar Capital) resolved to further improve the business’s operational performance by amalgamating all functions into a single office site whereupon McCalmont-Woods was tasked with disposing of the now surplus lease on the 9th floor at 1 Minster Court, EC3.



The successful assignment in 2020 for the full 5-year term remaining under Apex’s lease, to leading UK insurer Direct Line Group, produced £3.25 million cost savings for Apex.


Mark Coppin, Operations Director, Ipes/Apex
“McCalmont-Woods’s flexible, approachable style and years of experience in its sector gave a great deal of confidence that we were getting the best deal available. Moving offices is a once in ten years project for us whereas McCalmont-Woods has been continually guiding clients through this process for as many years. Their pragmatism and knowledge were an essential part of ensuring everything happened smoothly and on budget.”


Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP is a leading boutique firm of commercial disputes lawyers. CYK specialise in undertaking substantial English Court litigation, international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, working for businesses in the UK and abroad as well as for high-net-worth individuals.



Faced with a lease expiry in twelve months’ time in a building earmarked for redevelopment and in a state of obvious managed decline by the landlord, CYK turned to McCalmont-Woods for help in acquiring new office premises in the City of London. The brief was to acquire office space that would be of a much higher quality and more efficient to occupy than existing, while at the same time providing CYK with room to accommodate future business growth.

Since CYK wished initially to consider the merits of relocating across a wide geographical area, a relocation plan and timetable was formulated which enabled CYK to consider the merits of 50 available properties before a longlist of potential options was eventually decided upon. Various on-site inspections were then undertaken to narrow down the search focus to a shortlist of preferred property options.

An option to acquire premises which had been pre-fitted for another law firm was discounted after pre-acquisition due diligence surveys revealed the existing M&E services were no longer fit for purpose and the extensive internal partitioning in-situ did not provide sufficient sound attenuation for a law firm. Consequently, focus shifted rapidly to a consideration of other suitable potential Plan B options identified during the initial research phase which importantly, could be leased and fitted-out from new within CYK’s proposed acquisition timetable.



McCalmont-Woods successfully concluded negotiations for CYK to acquire 11,000 sq ft of newly refurbished Grade A offices at 21 Lombard Street, EC3 on a new 7 year sublease from UBS producing £1.16 million cost savings for the business. CYK’s new office premises enjoy natural light to all elevations and following a high-quality fit-out, provide CYK with prestigious modern offices including extensive meeting room space and a roof terrace, arranged on a efficient single floor in the heart of the City.


The transaction highlights two important issues for corporate occupiers:

1. there is a natural assumption that pre-fitted offices will deliver significant cost-savings but this can be a false assumption particularly if the condition of the base build services infrastructure is poor and replacement parts are difficult to source or obsolete. Any assessment of the efficacy of acquiring pre-fitted offices will depend upon the quality and state of repair of the existing fit-out. When considering the acquisition of pre-fitted offices we recommend corporate occupiers undertake all necessary due diligence surveys early on in the acquisition process (and before heads of terms are agreed) as this will influence lease negations and determine whether they should continue or be terminated.

1. by identifying potential Plan B property options at the outset of the relocation process it was possible to effect a rapid change in the direction of lease negotiations without impacting the timetable for acquisition. This is incredibly important if the catalyst for relocation relates to a lease expiry event.


Town Legal LLP is a boutique planning law firm set up at the end of 2016 by some of the leading figures in the planning law sector. Based in London the firm advises on all aspects of planning law, across England and Wales and acts for a range of clients including developers, landowners, and public authorities. One of Town Legal’s partners is a leading planning barrister, which is one of the things that sets Town Legal apart and provides added value to its clients, in terms of the quality and speed of advice. The firm was voted the country’s most highly rated planning law team in the country in Planning Magazine’s 2019, 2020 and 2021 annual law survey.



Town Legal occupied a small office at 1 London Wall Buildings (close to Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations) in the core of The City on a relatively short-term (as befits most start-ups) sublease from another tenant in the building. Its immediate landlord had the opportunity to exercise a break option and reduce its own footprint and cost base conditional upon delivering vacant possession of the entire premises at the date of termination to include Town Legal’s office space. Since the building was in a state of managed decline (with poor common parts) Town took the decision to look for new premises elsewhere and tasked McCalmont-Woods with managing the relocation process. A thorough review of the office market identified various options considered potentially suited to relocation albeit with a clear favourite reflecting the partnerships key selection criteria of location, size & configuration and lease & rental terms.



Negotiations were successfully concluded for Town Legal to acquire circa 5,000 sq ft newly refurbished Grade A offices at 8-10 Throgmorton Street, EC2 on a new 10 year lease (incorporating a fifth year tenant only break option) from ICL Pension Trust Limited. Town’s new office premises benefit from high ceilings and excellent natural light and following a high-quality fit-out (by Peldon Rose) now provide Town Legal with prestigious modern offices (as befits a leading boutique law firm) in the heart of the City of London.

Clare Fielding, Partner and co-founder
“Nick recently advised us (Town Legal LLP – we are a specialist planning law firm) on taking a 10 year lease of 5,000 sqft at Ten Throgmorton Avenue EC2. Nick was an absolute pleasure throughout, and we had the benefit of his wise counsel, commercial nous and great sense of humour. From a tenant perspective, we couldn’t recommend him more highly.”

Neptune Energy is an independent global E&P company with operations across the North Sea, North Africa and Asia Pacific. It was founded by Sam Laidlaw in 2015 with private equity backing from funds advised by Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners and in 2018 they were joined by CIC, the Chinese sovereign wealth fund.



Neptune Energy initially occupied a small serviced office (5/7 desks) in London’s West End prior to its transformational acquisition of ENGIE’s E&P business in February 2018 which saw headcount grow to more than 1,800 personnel working across exploration, appraisal, development and production. McCalmont-Woods was tasked with finding and negotiating the acquisition of a new London office into which the newly enlarged business could co-locate its HQ functions.



The limited office supply pipeline was driving occupiers, particularly in the West End, to activate searches well in advance of lease events. Working to a tight timetable, McCalmont-Woods evaluated over 50 properties across various London office sub-markets before arriving at a shortlist of building options. A number of potential options were selected for further evaluation (including space planning and technical analysis) with detailed financial reviews undertaken on a reduced shortlist of properties. McCalmont-Woods subsequently concluded negotiations to acquire the part 8th floor at Nova North, Victoria, SW1 on a new 10 year lease (incorporating a fifth year tenant break option) from Victoria Circle Limited Partnership, a joint venture between Land Securities and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. The new offices provided the business with 11,000 sq ft Grade A floorspace on an efficient single floor and produced circa £1.7 million cost savings.


Chris Boulter, Head of Business Development
“Nick was a tremendous help finding and securing our new office space. We went through a long screening process and viewed many properties before settling on Nova North. Nick helped throughout the process, adapting quickly to changes in scope and budget and using his in-depth knowledge of the London market to make sure we got the best deal.”


Hartree Partners, LP is a global energy and commodities firm. Founded as HETCO (Hess Energy Trading Co) a joint venture between Hess and Hartree’s founding partners, the business now spans 12+ global offices with over 100 traders in more than 20 business lines working collectively to provide deep insight and expertise to enterprise-level, multinational and nation-state customers.



Faced with relocation from a tired office building earmarked for redevelopment in London’s West End where it occupied 8,000 sq ft, Hartree turned to McCalmont-Woods for help in a market where the supply of offices was severely constrained and office rents were rising. Hartree appointed McCalmont-Woods after a previous property deal had fallen through at a late stage (with no Plan B) leaving the business with very little time in which to find a new office space.



By agreeing a short lease extension on its existing premises Hartree could maintain business continuity while McCalmont-Woods unncovered an off-market relocation opportunity at Cardinal Place, a striking modern office building located at 100 Victoria Street, SW1.

The strategy to acquire a large efficient single floor of 11,300 sq ft under a new 10 year LTA 1954 protected lease ensured the business could benefit from long-term lease security while also maximising the tenant incentives available to it in a tightening office market. A short-term subletting to a strong UK covenant (minimising the risk of tenant default) on 2,200 sq ft surplus space generated immediate cost savings while also providing expansion space for future business growth in the near term, with the combined acquisition and disposal producing cost savings of circa £2 million.


Jon O’Neill, Managing Director
“McCalmont-Woods did a great job of finding a new London office for Hartree. They worked hard and found us a great space before it got advertised on the open market. They are good communicators and we felt very well informed and advised throughout the whole process.”


Newsquest Media Group Ltd is the second largest publisher of regional and local newspapers in the United Kingdom. It has 205 brands across the UK, publishing online and in print and reaches 28 million visitors a month online and 6.5 million readers a week in print.



When the landlord on Newsquest’s preferred office relocation option reneged on the deal it had agreed at the eleventh hour, the importance of having a risk management strategy in place was immediately apparent.

Faced with the imminent expiry of its existing office lease at Harmsworth House in London’s Midtown district, and no chance of remaining in situ because Newsquest’s existing landlord had already pre-leased the space at expiry to another and larger tenant in the building, the situation probably looked bleak to the uninitiated.



However, because McCalmont-Woods had previously identified a suitable Plan B property option at the outset of the relocation process, it was able to arrange for the Group’s Executive function to maintain business continuity and relocate to an alternative corporate HQ at Queen’s House, Lincoln’s Inn Fields with a minimum of turbulence, despite having being badly let down on its first-choice relocation option.


This transaction highlights the importance of why corporate occupiers contemplating an office relocation should always have a Plan B to cater for (but not be limited to) the following eventualities:

1. the landlord agrees to progress a deal with another and competing occupier;
2. the landlord seeks to ratchet up the asking terms upon which the accommodation is being marketed;
3. the landlord withdraws the accommodation from the market;
4. the the building is sold to a new owner intent on maximising its asset value (often linked to point 3 above);
4. pre-acquisition due diligence surveys reveal serious defects in the building infrastructure or services;
5. changes in office market supply and demand dynamics dictate a change in real estate strategy, and
6. changes in the occupier’s own business circumstances necessitate a change in real estate strategy.

Tata Communications is a global provider of telecommunications solutions and services. The $2.9bn company which is headquartered in Mumbai and Singapore, has 8,500 employees across 38 countries and is part of the $103.3bn Tata Group. Its telecommunications network spans the globe and includes more than 500,000 km of subsea fibre and more than 210,000 km of terrestrial fibre.



Having helped Tata Communications previously to relocate its offices from London Docklands to the City of London, McCalmont-Woods was re-appointed to acquire a second new office to serve as Tata Communications new European HQ. The catalyst for this second office move was Blackstone’s purchase from Mitsui Fudosan of 20 Old Bailey, EC4 with its plans to extend and reposition the office property requiring all of the existing occupiers to vacate the building at lease expiry.

The brief was to identify circa 15-20,000 sq ft office space which might be leased for a maximum 5-year term. And, in order to mitigate the cost of fitting-out the new offices (from a landlord’s standard Cat A finish) McCalmont-Woods was again tasked with identifying pre-fitted office accommodation which could be adapted to meet Tata’s specific occupational needs at minimal cost.



McCalmont-Woods successfully concluded terms for Tata Communications to acquire 16,600 sq ft fully fitted space at Vintners’ Place, 68 Upper Thames Street, EC4 on a new 4.5 year sublease from Getco Europe Limited. Since the premises had only been occupied by the former tenant for a very short period, Tata was able to benefit from a virtually brand new in-situ office fit-out which provided all the necessary structured cabling, comms room, kitchens, private offices, boardroom and meeting rooms, office reception area and office furniture.

The highly favourable terms agreed at 20 Old Bailey and Vintners’ Place represented a 50% rental discount, which taken together with the significant capex savings on two office fit-outs, produced a combined cost saving across the two subleases of circa £5.25 million.


Julie Woods-Moss, CMO & CEO Nextgen Business
“Nick did a fantastic job of finding Tata a great property in Central London. We had tight budgets and tight timelines and Nick over-delivered in spite of our constraints.”

Vinod Kumar, Managing Director and CEO
“This is probably the best office we have in the whole world.”

Orsted (formerly known as DONG Energy) is a renewable energy company headquartered in Denmark employing 5,600 people including over 900 in the UK. Its shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen and in 2017 the group’s revenue was DKK 59.5 bn (EUR 8.0 bn).



McCalmont-Woods was tasked with developing a property strategy for DONG Energy in London which recognised that the business occupied circa 50,000 sq ft under six leases due to expire within a short 2-3 year timespan and which leases were all held from different landlords.

With headcount in London expected to grow significantly beyond the existing lease expiry dates it was important to identify a new headquarters building that would be capable of meeting the businesses’ future growth needs and which was available to lease within the timescale identified. In addition the new HQ building would also be required to meet various exacting technical, environmental and sustainability requirements in keeping with the businesses’ corporate image and standards.



Against the backdrop of an increasingly tight London office market characterised by low levels of supply and high levels of occupier demand, McCalmont-Woods was successful in identifying and securing 81,000 sq ft Grade A offices for Orsted in an award-winning building at 5 Howick Place, Victoria, SW1 some 18 months ahead of lease expiry, on highly competitive terms.


Brent Cheshire, UK Country Chairman
“We are delighted to have leased this new state-of-the art office. This reflects the rapid growth of our business and our commitment to the UK where we have invested over £5 billion in the last decade. The new office space will give us a great opportunity to bring together all 400 of our London-based staff, with all the benefits that improved collaboration can bring. Securing this accommodation also ensures that we remain in Central London, close to our key Government and business stakeholders.”


Reach plc is the largest national and regional news publisher in the UK with a leading portfolio in Ireland. It creates engaging, relevant content which is distributed through newspapers, magazines and digital platforms – playing a central role in its audiences’ daily lives. Its national and regional brands have a long heritage of being trusted sources of the latest news, information, sport and entertainment, offering a range of opportunities to connect brands with consumers. With one of the biggest monthly multi-platform audiences in the UK, Reach’s national and regional news brands are prominent champions, campaigners and changemakers.



In Q4 2013 Canary Wharf was awash with over 1.7 million sq ft available offices (ignoring ‘grey’ space which accounted for an additional 12% floorspace) and it was into this market that Reach wished to reduce its office footprint by disposing of circa 27,000 sq ft surplus offices at One Canada Square, E14 (the UKs tallest building) for the remaining 4.5 years under its lease. With prime rents flatlining for 10 quarters McCalmont-Woods recommended quoting a deep discounted rent of £17.50 per sq ft (from £40 per sq ft rent passing) to pique the interest of potential occupiers.



McCalmont-Woods concluded a letting to High Speed Two (‘HS2’), the government funded company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network, on 16,410 sq ft in May 2014. Then, six months later, McCalmont-Woods persuaded HS2 to lease the 10,521 sq ft balance of Level 19. The successful disposal of the entire surplus floor under two subleases, with rent payable from day one, produced a combined cost saving to Reach of circa £5,750,000.


Mike Shaw, Group Services Director
“We have had a long-standing business relationship with Nick McCalmont-Woods, where he has acted for us appertaining a number of difficult and delicate property transactions, within our London portfolio. In all respects the work undertaken by Nick has been done in an utterly professional and conscientious way and he has a unique ability to understand his clients requirements from day one, without being overawed by the task at hand.”