Marketform Managing Agency (rebranded as Neon Underwriting) is a global insurer operating in the specialist Lloyd’s market and is a member of Great American Insurance Group (GAIG), the insurance operations of American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG).



Marketform occupied 20,000 sq ft in a historic Grade II listed self-contained office building on the fringe of the City’s insurance district. An impending lease expiry event provided Marketform with the option to review its occupational requirements and either continue to occupy floors of c.2,800 sq ft in its existing building under new and improved lease terms (‘stay-option’) or, to size the opportunity to relocate to a more modern office building located closer to the Lloyd’s of London market building (‘go-option’) and consolidate its operations on one large single floor, enabling its staff to work more efficiently and productively.

McCalmont-Woods was tasked with undertaking a thorough investigation of available properties with a preferred building (and Plan B back-up option) selected for detailed financial review and benchmarking. Despite the preferred building option being advertised as newly refurbished Grade A offices, pre-acquisition building and M&E surveys revealed certain remedial works were needed to the property’s air-conditioning system. Because the due diligence surveys were commissioned early on in the acquisition process there was no disruption to heads of terms negotiations, which were adjusted to oblige the building owners to carry out the necessary remedial works prior to lease grant.



McCalmont-Woods successfully concluded negotiations for Marketform to acquire a large single floor of 29,500 sq ft at 20 Gracechurch Street, EC3, a landmark building strategically located between the City’s financial and insurance districts. A new protected LTA 1954 lease for a term of 10 years was agreed on the 5th floor which maximised the tenant incentives available to Marketform and produced cost savings of £4 million for the business.


Andy Ribaudo, Chief Financial Officer
“We initially had an office space spread over 6 floors, in a building that was nice, but not really close enough to Lloyd’s to meet our needs. We worked with Nick to move into a building that let all of us be on the same floor, and not only closer to Lloyd’s, but with other insurance companies in the building. The impact of getting all of us on the same floor was tremendous – it really made a difference in how we worked together.”



JP Morgan Cazenove occupied 16,000 sq ft business recovery offices and date centre space on the 3rd floor at 1 Exchange Tower, E14 in London’s Docklands. The 16 storey office tower at 1 & 2 Harbour Exchange was acquired by Hammerson in 1999 for £77m and subsequently sold onto MGPA Europe Fund III in September 2010 for £134.6m – an 8.1% yield. The building comprised 485,000 sq ft office space let to a range of tenants. The new landlord, MGP Harbour Exchange II S.a.r.l. sought to increase the annual rent payable under JPMC’s leases as at the 29th September 2009 review date, from £21.00 per sq ft to a highly optimistic headline rent of £32.50 per sq ft.

McCalmont-Woods was instructed by JP Morgan Cazenove to handle the upward only rent review negotiations on its behalf and mitigate any increase in rent payable from the review date.


Services provided

  • Consideration of existing lease contract and provisions for rent review
  • Comprehensive research into, and analysis of, comparable market evidence in the Docklands offices sub-market at the valuation date
  • Preparation of initial client report on rent review outlining McCalmont-Woods’ recommended strategy
  • Negotiations with landlord’s agent to include submission of a Calderbank offer
  • Preparation of Statement of Agreed Facts and Statement of Agreed Evidence as a prelude to a full Arbitration



Settlement was reached by negotiation between the parties at a revised rent of £22.00 per sq ft with McCalmont-Woods achieving almost £1 million rental savings for JP Morgan Cazenove over the 5 year term remaining on its two leases expiring in March 2015.

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.



TATA Communications wished to relocate its business operations from London Docklands to a more central location in the City of London. The brief was simple; find as much office space as possible in the best possible location and for the least cost possible!

Market research enabled McCalmont-Woods to quickly identify a number of properties which supported the business case for relocation to circa 15-20,000 sq ft. A shortlist of potential options was drawn up and detailed cash-flows prepared on each building with heads of terms negotiations commencing on Tata’s preferred property option shortly thereafter. Final terms were agreed and Board approval obtained to relocation within four months from the date of McCalmont-Woods’ appointment.



McCalmont-Woods successfully concluded negotiations to acquire 18,685 sq ft offices for TATA Communications at 20 Old Bailey, EC4 on a new sub-lease from Accenture at a deep rental discount and with an extremely competitive rent-free period.

Since the premises benefited from an existing high-quality office fit-out which included meeting rooms, two comms rooms and kitchen facilities (effectively providing ‘plug & play’ offices with circa 160 desks and associated office furniture in-situ ready for immediate use) Tata Communications was able to provide its employees with the perfect workplace environment in terms of functionality and amenities.

Fionnula Bentley, HR Director
“The offices we finally settled on are fantastic value for money and provide an ideal environment for our employees. I honestly do not believe we would have found our new Central London location and been able to present such a strong business case to the board without Nick’s assistance.”


Abbey Business Centres was established in 1998 and was privately owned by The Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay, one of Scotland’s most successful businessmen and philanthropists.



Abbey Offices was keen to expand its network of sites across central London by opening a new prestigious facility located in the City core to compliment its other 13 centres across the UK.

When, in June 2008, Swiss Re took the decision to release the 15th floor at 30 St.Mary Axe, EC3, McCalmont-Woods quickly introduced the accommodation to Abbey Offices. The premises comprised 17,000 sq ft of fitted-out office space on the highest floor occupied by Swiss Re in the iconic ‘Gherkin’ building with commanding views over the City of London and across to the West End and Canary Wharf.



Initially, Swiss Re had been seeking to let its surplus offices on a traditional lease (at a quoting rent of £62.50 per sq ft) but McCalmont-Woods was able to convince the Swiss insurer to instead enter into an Operator Management Agreement (‘OMA’) with Abbey Offices and after twelve months exhaustive negotiations, Abbey Offices opened its new City business centre in June 2009. The innovative structure of the OMA required a detailed financial model to be constructed, enabling both parties to benchmark future operating success.


Julie Calder, Managing Director
“Nick McCalmont-Woods has represented Abbey Business Centres for three years, initially in his previous position, but when he set up on his own, it was an obvious move for me to continue to use his services. Nick is a professional who sets himself apart by being clearly focused on understanding his client’s ultimate requirements and then securing them.”



Cazenove Capital Management occupied 34,000 sq ft at 12 Moorgate, EC2 under a 25-year lease dating from 1998. Prior to selling its freehold interest in the property, landlord New Star Property Asset Management sought to increase the annual office rent payable at review from £47.00 per sq ft passing to a new rent based on a highly optimistic £60.00 per sq ft.

McCalmont-Woods was referred by its existing client JP Morgan Cazenove and was subsequently instructed by Cazenove Capital Management to negotiate the upward only rent review with a view to mitigating any uplift in rent payable as at the 24th June 2008 review date.


Services Provided

  • Consideration of existing lease contract and provisions for rent review
  • Market research (analysis of City offices market and comparable market evidence at valuation date)
  • Preparation of initial client report outlining McCalmont-Woods’ strategy for handling the review
  • Property inspections (subject premises and market evidence);
  • Negotiations and settlement of rent review



McCalmont-Woods negotiated a minimal uplift of 1.5% on the rent passing. The settlement reached by negotiation between the parties (without the need for recourse to independent arbitration) represented a 83% saving for Cazenove on the uplift in rent proposed by its landlord.


Stewart Norwood, Director, Head of IT
“Nick McCalmont-Woods carried out a rent review on our behalf. 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.”

SunGard was an American multinational company based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which provided software and services to education, financial services, and public sector organizations. It was formed in 1983, as a spin-off of the computer services division of Sun Oil Company. The name of the company originally was an acronym which stood for Sun Guaranteed Access to Recovered Data, a reference to the disaster recovery business it helped pioneer. In August 2005, the company was acquired by seven private equity firms for $11.3 billion and de-listed from the NYSE.



The company operated from nine sites across central London. Nick McCalmont-Woods was tasked with investigating SunGard’s strategic property options for consolidating its multiple office sites into a single new facility in the capital. After researching the state of the office market in The City and Canary Wharf it was agreed that the optimal solution was for SunGard to relocate to Canary Wharf.

The initial strategy paper prepared for SunGard addressed:

  • an overview of its central London portfolio
  • the opportunities for the acquisition of office space within the timetable agreed
  • the prospects for the disposition of existing leased space
  • the restructuring of existing lease liabilities on its core property holdings
  • the scope and extent of existing dilapidations and reinstatement liabilities
  • the impact of forthcoming lease events (e.g. rent reviews) on the disposition of existing offices

The strategy for acquisition strategy addressed:

  • formulation of an accommodation strategy and occupational brief
  • research into the size, suitability and timing of available premises in The City and Canary Wharf
  • arranging site inspections and presentations with potential landlords
  • drafting of RFPs and generation of DCF appraisals to illustrate total occupational costs for each shortlisted option
  • twin-track negotiation strategy (to leverage best market terms and provide for a Plan B option)
  • advice on building specification and impact on future reinstatement liabilities at lease termination
  • advice on future expansion and determination options
  • advice on level of tenant incentives
  • advice on turnkey solutions for fitting out the new office premises
  • advice on drafting of lease alienation provisions
  • drafting and negotiation of heads of terms



Working closely with SunGard’s representatives (the Group CFO and the Group Facilities Manager for SunGard Europe) Nick McCalmont-Woods successfully concluded negotiations to acquired 84,000 sq ft offices under four separate leases from Citigroup at 25 Canada Square, E14. The lease structure agreed afforded SunGard the flexibility it required to draw down and exit space on pre-determined dates under rental and rent-free terms that were significantly more favourable than could be expected in the open market at the time.


Dean Gluyas, VP, Group CFO Europe
“In mid-2005 SunGard engaged the London City office of GVA Grimley (Nick McCalmont-Woods) to assist in obtaining 84,000 sq ft of Grade A office space for consolidation of multiple city locations to a single footprint in London’s financial district. The process was extensive and well co-ordinated. Important for SunGard was that Nick McCalmont-Woods demonstrated a strong understanding of the Central London property market that matched our requirements for lease flexibility with our specific financial needs (to include implications of US GAAP and internal lease levelling issues).”

Cable & Wireless plc was a British telecommunications company. In the mid-1980s, it became the first company in the UK to offer an alternative telephone service to British Telecom (via subsidiary Mercury Communications). The company later offered cable TV to its customers, but it sold its cable assets to NTL in 2000. It remained a significant player in the UK telecoms market and in certain overseas markets, especially in the former British colonies of the Caribbean, where it was formerly the monopoly incumbent. It was also the main supplier of communication in the British South Atlantic, including Saint Helena and the Falkland Islands. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.



Cable & Wireless sought to reduce its headcount by 2,700 in the UK by the end of June 2001, thereby releasing for disposal a portfolio of surplus offices at a time when property values were at their highest across Central London. The portfolio included its UK headquarters at 26 Red Lion Square, WC1 and its global headquarters at 124 Theobald’s Road, WC1.

Nick McCalmont-Woods managed and implemented the successful disposal of nine office buildings in central London totalling in excess of 300,000 sq ft, providing in the process the following services to Cable & Wireless:

  • the inspection of all relevant properties and supporting lease documents
  • preparation of initial high-level reports outlining the likelihood and cost of disposal
  • production of bespoke marketing reports for each individual property setting out recommendations as to the best method of disposal, route to market and likely timetable to exit
  • marketing strategy including indicative action plan, budget and methodology
  • generation of DCFs to support the business case for disposal in each instance



The completed disposals resulted in a more efficient use of office space within Cable & Wireless’s property portfolio and allowed for the acquisition of a new office for the Group executive in Paddington:

1. The disposal of 42,000 sq ft in 26 Red Lion Square to The Economist Group helped release funds for the business at a time when they were most needed. Shortly thereafter, Cable & Wireless vacated 124 Theobald’s Road and on Nick McCalmont-Woods’ advice the company embarked on a significant upgrade of its surplus accommodation with a view to seeking a single occupier for the whole building. Five months after completion of the upgrade works, Nick McCalmont-Woods let the entire 84,500 sq ft building to MediaCom, a subsidiary of WPP, the world’s largest communications services group.

2. The acquisition of 18,000 sq ft in The Point, Paddington Basin, W2 to house the Group executive heralded a move away from Cable & Wireless’s historic Holborn location and provided the template for a new policy directive requiring any new premises acquired be held on shorter-term 5-year leases to support the re-engineering of the business.

Cazenove was a British stockbroker and investment bank, founded in 1823 by Philip Cazenove. It was one of the UK’s last independent investment banks and one of the last to remain a private partnership. The main parts of the business were acquired by JPMorgan Chase in 2009 with the remains being sold to other financial institutions. The Partnership was well known for its ‘blue-blooded’ reputation and its complete aversion to publicity. It was one of the most successful brokers and corporate advisers in London, being described by the Financial Times as ‘dominant’ and as having an ‘aura’.



Cazenove leased 100,000 sq ft close to the Bank of England in nine inter-connecting buildings that had over the years been adapted to accommodate the ongoing needs of the business. To meet its growth expectations over the next decade, Cazenove sought to consolidate its operations into a single new building of circa 155,000 sq ft to maximise the efficiency of the working environment for its clients and staff.

In order that the Partnership might formulate a clear relocation strategy and take objective decisions on timetabling and implementation, McCalmont-Woods advised on the:

  • timetable in which the business needed to decide whether to ‘stay or go’
  • current and projected status of The City and Canary Wharf office markets with an assessment of how the supply and demand pipeline might affect rental value in each
  • cost benefit analysis of the Partnership continuing to invest in the infrastructure of its existing buildings
  • likely cost of terminal dilapidations and reinstatement to be borne by the Partnership on relocation


Once the decision was taken to relocate McCalmont-Woods then managed:

  • the formulation of a detailed occupational brief
  • research into size, deliverability and timing of properties available for pre-letting
  • arranging site inspections and presentations with potential developers and landlords
  • generation of DCFs to illustrate total occupational costs over the projected lease term
  • review of relevant investment considerations and impact on profit sharing arrangements
  • the drafting and negotiation of heads of terms



By agreeing to accept a certain level of risk and cost and electing to relocate in what was then a relatively depressed City office market, Cazenove was able to acquire a new purpose-built headquarters building at 20 Moorgate, EC2 with a bespoke specification in a prime City location on extremely competitive rental and lease terms.

Nick McCalmont-Woods advised Cazenove on its occupational property requirements for almost 30 years to include advising on all office acquisitions, disposals, rent reviews and the restructuring of various office leases in the City of London and London Docklands. The acquisition of Cazenove’s new headquarters building at 20 Moorgate is believed to be the first genuine prelet to be agreed ‘off-plan’ in the City of London.